In order to control the pollution of the waters of the river, the West Bengal Pollution Control Authority has reserved two ponds for the dumping of the idols of Durga after Vijaya Dashami. A process of cleaning the reservoirs almost immediately after the end of the ritual will also be undertaken. Kalyan Rudra, the chairman of the board, said similar measures are taken every year for the dumping of idols in the Ganges and other rivers in the state where the board, in coordination with civic bodies, takes the necessary steps to minimize water pollution.
“Two large ponds have been identified in Laketown and Dumdum, where synthetic liners will be used to remove idols, accessories and flowers, just after submersion. The idea was originally adopted by the Newtown Kolkata Development Authority,” Rudra said at a press meeting on Wednesday. The WBPCB will also monitor the water quality of the Ganges in three phases – pre-immersion, during
immersion and post-immersion – to find out if the project was effective and what more could be done.
Mr Rudra further said that the council’s helpline had been improved and people could file complaints if the rules were violated. The pollution watchdog will also be monitoring Diwali air quality until March next year, Rudra added. “We are setting up 58 new monitoring stations to keep tabs on air quality across the state. There will be two of these stations in each district.”
Asked whether there is a link between air pollution caused by fireworks and the spread of COVID-19, Rudra said that no scientific studies conducted on the disease to date have been carried out. found a link between the two, but maintained he would consult with IIT-Delhi experts on the matter.
“We are already looking at the effects of burning crop residues through satellite imagery, in collaboration with IIT-Delhi. A similar method could be adopted during Diwali,” he said, adding that the council would undertake a sustained campaign to educate the public about the effects of fireworks.