Volunteers Turn Up In Huge Numbers In Mumbai To Clean The Beaches Post Ganesh Visarjan

India’s very rich cultural diversity means that we get to celebrate a good number of festivals every year and each of these festivals are celebrated with sheer joy and happiness. However, over the years, just like with urban development, people have come to realise that these festivals also cause great harm to our environment. The age-old customs should be respected, but they also need to be modified with the passage of time. Ganesh Chaturthi, which is celebrated at a massive scale in Maharashtra and few other regions has also now come under scrutiny for the immersion of the Ganesh idols in the water bodies after the festival. The chemicals greatly affect the water quality and make it dirty. The God that we worship for 7-10 days are quite literally lying in broken pieces near the beach and it is an awful sight to witness.

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Since the past few years, awareness is being spread about making eco-friendly Ganpati idols or employing better ways of doing the visarjan. Since the past few years, a team of volunteers have been joining hands with administrative bodies to clean up the beaches of Mumbai post Ganesh Chaturthi.

Doing the ground work

It is one thing to sit and complaint and another to really go to the floor and start working on it. This year, the volunteers came down to the beaches despite huge downpour of rains. Various NGOs tie up with civilians and get a big crowd to carry out this much needed initiative. United Way Mumbai, an NGO which has been involved with this activity for years now, got 200 college volunteers for Juhu and Dadar beach clean-up on the visarjan day. Post the visarjan, they got 300 more volunteers from colleges and corporate to carry out the activity in Juhu, Dadar and Versova. The waste was also segregated into wet and dry waste.

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Over a thousand volunteers have joined hands with Chinu Kawatra’s NGO and they found 35 broken idols at Juhu and 15 at Dadar.

Kawatra, a devotee himself, said in an interview with Mid-day, “Ganesh brings happiness, but it is sad how we treat our God after the festival. I am a huge devotee of Ganesh and it hurts to see his idols lying in pieces on beaches. The plaster of Paris idols are especially damaged. Their hands, legs, trunks are broken."

A critical situation

This year, the 1Km stretch adjoining Marine Drive collected around 55 metric tons of waste. On Friday alone, 7 metric tonnes of waste were collected from Aksa and Marve beach. The heaviest crowd is witnessed by Girgaun beach. More than 7000 staff and officials have to be on duty on the day of immersion. The number of immersions in Mumbai alone is astounding. This year, 2,10,118 sarvajanik and 30,359 eco-friendly Ganesh idols were immersed in the city. One can imagine the challenge that the BMC has to clean up the beaches after an event of this scale.

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Another step taken by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCMG) is the plantation of ‘Niramalaya’, or flower waste bins, at 246 locations across the city. The waste collected will be processed to produce manure. 1083 metric tonnes of nirmalaya waste was collected this year.

Despite the big numbers, citizens are becoming aware and have started taking their festivals more responsibly. KenFolios hopes that things only keep improving from the next year.


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