Sunday, August 24, 2008

IISc to test Sankey waters again

IISc to test Sankey waters again

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Come Ganesha festival and the streets of the city will see a large number of processions as people carry the Elephant God’s idols for immersion in lakes.

Nearly one lakh small, medium and large idols of Lord Ganesha are immersed in the Sankey tank’s Kalyanis, built especially for the purpose.

They were constructed by the BBMP, the Lake Development Authority and other departments to ensure that the rest of the tank remained free of pollution. During the first two days , nearly 1,000 idols are immersed every 30 minutes in the Kalyanis in the Sankey Tank.

Usually, the idols are worshipped and immersed in large numbers on the first day, and gradually their numbers taper off on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th day.

According to a researcher from the Indian Institute of Science, during the Ganesha festival the Kalyanis are polluted with flowers, decorations and material used in worship besides the Ganesha idol itself, made of clay or plaster-of-Paris and carrying hazardous chemical paint. “There is a possibility of the contaminated water from the Kalyani seeping into the main water body and harming the aquatic biodiversity. The lakes are not mere water bodies. They are living eco-systems. And the authorities must take steps to see that they are not polluted,” says Mr Harish R. Bhat, from the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, which is planning to study the water quality of the Sankey Tank, also called Gandhadha Kotti Kere.

Three years ago, the IISc had prepared a similar report on the lake which had revealed a large presence of heavy metals in the water after idol immersion.

The study which will be conducted during this Ganesha festival aims to sensitise the policymakers and the citizens about the effect of metal paints on the water body.

“The results of the last study had revealed that the chemical content in the lake had gone up after immersion of the idols that are laced with metal and oil paints. This year the study will be conducted in two phases. Water samples from the Kalyani and the main tank will be collected before the start and the end of the immersion season. The samples will be analysed for pH, turbidity and alkalinity,” Mr Bhat explained.

green immersion Suggestions by the IISc to keep water bodies pollution free during the Ganesha festival. ? Buy smaller idols and with less flashy paints. Encourage the purchase of clay idols without paint. ? Buy idols painted with natural dyes. ? Create awareness on the need to use idols made from paper pulp.

? Immerse the idols in buckets, wells. ? Go in for symbolic immersion, saving the large Ganesha idol for future use or immerse a small idol instead. ? Clear the Kalyani of immersed Ganeshas in the early hours making space for new immersions the next day. The silt removed should be dumped in landfills.


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