Amidst the bustling crowd, festive and fervor of Durga Puja this year, we went to find out if Puja pandals(or Puja pavilions) prioritize biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste management system.
Earlier this year, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the Delhi government to regulate idol immersions into Delhi's rivers, primarily the Yamuna and the Hindon. The NGT had, on January 2019, directed authorities in the National Capital Region to create artificial ponds in various localities.
On September 15, 2015, the National Green Tribunal prohibited the immersion of idols, made from polluting (non-biodegradable) material such as plaster of Paris or plastic, in the Yamuna.
These substances, when accumulated in a water body for a long period of time, leads to oxygen depletion in the pond, which is used as a clear sign that the water in the pond is polluted and is in the process of eutrophication.
Eutrophication is the natural process of dying of lakes. It takes place when a water body gets excessive nutrients due to pollution. This leads to a drop in the oxygen level of the pond. Due to the nutrition, the "once pond" over time develops into a fully grown land ecosystem with lots of vegetation but no sign of the pond left whatsoever.
Since the hundreds of gallons of water used in the artificial ponds will not be treated for further use, one can say these artificial ponds high on pollutants and harmful elements will soon turn into landfills. And the non-biodegradable materials in it like plaster of Paris, arsenic, iron, plastic etc. will continue to contaminate the environment forever.