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Learn lessons from post-visarjan pollution

Samples collected from 5 lakes in Navi Mumbai after 2011 immersions confirm increase in percentage of BOD, COD, sulphate and turbidity; MPCB to upload results on its website for NGOs, civic body to prepare for next festive season

In its bid to ensure that idol immersion during Ganeshotsav doesn't harm the marine ecosystem of the water bodies, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) office in Navi Mumbai, tested water samples which it had collected after immersion in 2011.


Environmentalists have raised concerns over the rise in the
levels of harmful pollutants
 
 
The MPCB is going to upload the results on its website, facilitating non-government organisations (NGO) and Navi Mumbai civic authorities to use the data to take appropriate measures to keep pollution levels in check during the upcoming festive season.

Samples tested
Last year, MPCB's Navi Mumbai branch had collected water samples from five lakes and two creeks at regular intervals, to check the impact of plaster of Paris idols on the marine ecosystem of these water bodies. These samples were tested at the central laboratory in Mahape to detect presence of harmful chemicals post-immersion.

Official word
According to Bharat Nimbarte, regional officer, MPCB, Navi Mumbai, "We had identified seven water bodies in Navi Mumbai as immersion hotspots and collected water samples from these water bodies during last Ganeshotsav. They were later despatched to the central laboratory in Mahape.
 
Since we have just received the results, it's too early to comment on the level of pollution across these water bodies. Prima facie it appears that pollution level has gone up. We will now study these reports in detail."

Pollutant alert

Although no increase in harmful metals like lead and mercury has been reported, increase in BOD, COD, sulphate and turbidity were detected from the samples that were collected on the last day of immersion.

"Referring to our initial findings, we can say that harmful metals like mercury, lead, nickel haven't polluted the water. But, BOD, turbidity and amount of sulphate has increased," said an MPCB official.

Commenting on the kind of damage immersions cause to the fragile marine ecosystem, Dr Goldin Quadros, environmentalist, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, said, "Increase in BOD, COD and sulphate has always been harmful for biodiversity. Fish could die as their gills get affected due to these factors."

'Future in mind'
Apart from uploading the results and the conclusion on its website so that NGOs and other study groups can use the data for their research work, the MPCB will be asking civic authorities to take measures to keep water pollution in check during next Ganeshotsav.

"We will study changes in water quality during Ganeshotsav and find out the most pollution causing agents," said Nimbarte.

Water samples
In Navi Mumbai, samples were collected from CBD Belapur lake, Nerul Sector-20 lake, Vashi Creek, Diwale creek, Rabale lake, Ghansoli lake and Digha lake.

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