Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations across India, especially in Maharashtra, are associated with food, music and dance. But after the festival each year, it is the same story. Tonnes of garbage in the form of idols, flowers, decorative elements, plastic, etc., are found in beaches and in the water bodies where the idols are taken for immersion.
The garbage so accumulated takes close to two months each year to be cleaned up from the beaches and water bodies. Each year, along with the employees of the municipal corporation, citizens from Mumbai take part in the clean up activities. The video above captures one such clean-up drive conducted after the recently concluded Ganeshotsav.
Despite there being a general shift towards eco-friendly or clay Ganpati idols, in 2015, the city's municipal corporation said that garbage totalling 2,033 metric tonnes was recovered after the last day of the festival. On the last day alone, over 40,000 idols were immersed in the water bodies near Mumbai.
A 2010 study done by the Central Pollution Control Board of the effects on water following the festival found that there was a ten-fold increase in heavy metals, the oxygen content of water was reduced, and the acid content of water increased.
Here's a short explainer on the various aspects of the festival that cause water pollution, from plaster-of-paris idols to the chemicals from paints and decorations.