Ganesh immersion can be less pollutant

Rama Krishna Sangem

Ganesh immersion in Hyderabad that lasted two days on September 28 and 29 passed off smoothly and peacefully. Close to one lakh idols, large and medium sized were immersed in Hussain Sagar lake in the heart of the city, while another 25,000 to 50,000  small sized ones were immersed in  around 100 other water bodies across the city and surroundings.

We can see a big relief in the face of Hyderabad police commissioner CV Anand when he declared Friday evening that the 48 hour long centralized Ganesh immersion procession came to an end. Really this is a big respite to around 40,000 cops deployed in different kinds of Ganesh duty since September 18, Vinayana Chaviti festival, when the pujas at mandapams began.

Hundreds of cops from special branch and other wings were busy collecting details of who is installing a mandapam and how to coordinate things in the area. It has been a tough time for the cops to persuade the mandapam organisers to reduce DJ sound, or take out the idol at the earliest for immersion. Anand was right to say that this year there is some increase in the number of mandapams and hype around due to upcoming assembly elections.

Most of the aspiring candidates funded the youth to set up more mandapams in their localities so that they would be useful as trusted cadre in the December polls. Next year the hype may not be of this scale, as a new assembly and a new Lok Sabha must have been elected. All this is Okay. Let’s take stock of the other side of the coin –  the environmental and other side effects of this 11 day long Ganesh festival in our Hyderabad city.


Isn’t it a big polluting festival?

I know, anyone who talk about this issue of pollution during Ganesh festival will be accused of being either anti-Hindu or irreligious. But, I am neither of them. I paid donated a small amount to a nearby Ganesh mandapam at DD Colony, near OU Gate in the city, where I stay, and visited it twice or thrice. Here the question is why should we keep silent on an issue that concerns us all – pollution in different ways.

First, we read in media that not less than 4,000 tonnes of garbage piled up in the city on the day of immersion of idols. As against the normal garbage of 7,200 tonnes per day, our GHMC sanitation workers collected around 11,400 tonnes each on the two days of the immersion. Our GHMC deployed around 10,000 workers for this garbage clearance. It will take a few more days to clear it up.

On the other hand, the damage done to Hussain Sangar lake is immense. Already muddied with chemical effluents, this lake’s water are further contaminated by the thousands of tonnes of plaster of paris idols.  High Courts over the years have been fed up with issuing directions to the government limiting pollution of this lake during Ganesh festival. But, no one heeds.

I hear a leader of Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsava Samithi sarcastically saying: “Anyway, Hussain Sagar lake is not full of coconut water, they are full of chemical contamination”. He is right. But, should we further pollute the waters with more of chemicals? Even assuming Hussain Sagar is already polluted, should we immerse our Ganesh in such type of waters? Definitely not.


Tilak’s times were different

Lokmanya Balagangadhar Tilak started this common immersion of Ganesha after 10 days of puja in Pune of Maharasthra in 1893.  Some of our friends say, they are continuing his legacy by organizing a grand immersion procession. But, those times are different. In those days, the Britishers didn’t allow Hindus to gather even for religious events. Tilak wanted to mobilise Hindus on this festival and started Samuhik Ganesh Utsav.

But, now there are no such restrictions. We can hold a 10 day festival of Ganesha and take out a colourful common procession too. But, we can do that without much of pollution, polluting our own city, where our children and old are living. The high decibel sound pollution is dangerous to heart patients and the old. The air and water pollution is a big threat to the city’s environment. Certainly we can minimize it, if not completely cut it out.


Green efforts are laudable

Ganesha -
MP  Santosh with Seed Ganesha kids


Of course, we must congratulate people and organisations that are trying to bring in some change. The Green India Challenge led by BRS Rajya Sabha MP J Santosh Kumar has distributed Seed Ganesha idols which can be immersed in soil, leading to tree plantation. These idols will not need any immersion in any water bodies. This is a beautiful idea that cuts pollution and contributes to spread of greenery.

Similarly, HMDA’s efforts to distribute Clay Ganesha too is laudable. These Clay idols are not made of any chemical colours, thus reducing the levels of pollution in Hussain Sagar and other water bodies. Moreover, they don’t have any steel frames so that the costs of clearing the lake in the next few days will be less. Good to know that more and more youth and children are showing interest in these Seed and Clay Ganesha idols.

It is our youth who can bring some change in this Ganesh festival, at least from next year, in 2024. Let’s hope coming year’s Ganesha festival will be less polluting on all parameters. Bye-Bye Ganesha!

Rama Krishna Sangem

Ramakrishna chief editor of excel India online magazine and website

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Rama Krishna Sangem

Excel India national news magazine is a media startup founded and piloted by Rama Krishna Sangem, a Hyderabad based senior journalist with over three decade experience in the field of media, mostly in print journalism. His rich experience in reporting for both Telugu and English newspapers and heading a TV news channel and some online outfits will be of immense use to this venture. Excel India English news magazine seeks to fill the gap of analytical understanding to our readers who today are confronted with myriad media platforms. Our online version not only offers regular updates and commentary on happenings around us, but also gives larger stories not limited by space constraints of a print magazine. Excel India is ably run by a team of senior journalists committed to values and quality standards in the profession. We urge you all to support and guide us in this endeavour. Reach us at