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Eco-friendly devotees keep Tapi clean this year

SURAT: A day after Ganesha visarjan, there was a pleasant surprise for environment activists as well as civic authorities.

Unlike previous years, when the sight of hundreds of idols were scattered in Tapi pained the devotees and caused pollution, the riverbed this year was much cleaner. Authorities said a vast majority of people this year have refrained from immersing idols made from plaster of paris (PoP) in Tapi.

Despite lack of water in the river during late evening hours of Wednesday, the riverbed was clean.

"We found few small idols at only one spot on the riverbed near Umra where there is a natural island formed," an official from Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) said.

An official from 
Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) talking to TOI said, "We must thank people as majority of them either had clay idols or went all the way to Dumas for immersion."

Dumas road was choc-a-block with traffic with hundreds of devotees on their way to immerse the PoP idols in the sea as per directions of the civic body.

The immersion process had come to a halt by late evening at many places as the waters were very shallow and not sufficient for immersion of bigger idols. It was only after high tide at midnight that the remaining idols were immersed.

"We have taken the samples of water from different places in riverbed. We will send them for analysis to laboratory," officer in charge, GPCB, Surat, Ganesh Patel. "But, more or less people have stayed away from immersing POP idols in river and it a good sign for coming year," he added.

Nearly 34,000 idols of various sizes were immersed on the last day of 10-day-long Ganesh Chaturthi festival.

Aakash Ballar of Sharddha Vihar Ganesh Mandal on A K Road said, "We had ordered for PoP idol this year, but majority of members said it would harm river water after immersion. So we bought 9-feet clay idol."

The Times of India (20-09-2013)