This year, the Plaster of Paris (POP) idol prohibition will be enforced by the BMC. At the meeting held at the F-South Ward
office in Parel on Wednesday evening, idol makers urged civic officials to provide eco-friendly alternatives to replace the hazardous chemicals. The move has angered them. The officials stated that they are awaiting a report from the expert group that the state government created to provide a substitute for POP as well as mitigating strategies to stop water pollution brought on by idol immersion.
The Central Pollution Control Board's rules would be followed in enforcing the POP ban (CPCB). In light of this, the BMC organized a special coordination meeting on Wednesday to raise awareness among idol creators. "While this was the third meeting in recent months, no resolution was reached. Without a suitable replacement, the ban cannot be put into effect. We have not yet been told of any developments, according to Naresh Dahibavkar, president of the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti, a body set up to find alternatives to harmful pesticides
There are 2.5 lakh Ganesha idols in private homes and more than 12,000 sarvajanik (public) Ganeshotsav mandals. 80% of these are produced using POP. Will the BMC
offer such a big amount of shadu clay at competitive prices? Do they intend to obliterate the means of support for idol makers? Dahibavkar was questioned.
In the meantime, the state's Urban Development Department constituted the expert group, according to Deputy Municipal Commissioner Ramakant Biradar. They will investigate every angle and recommend a POP substitute. We are keeping in contact with the committee. The coordination conference was convened to inform idol manufacturers and Ganeshotsav mandals about the POP prohibition.
The CPCB published guidelines in May 2020 that forbid POP because they pollute water bodies. However, a sudden prohibition would harm idol makers' livelihoods, therefore it was postponed by a year at their request. Following two years of Covid restrictions, Ganeshotsav was celebrated last year, and the local government made an exception for POP idols. This year, the eleven days of Ganeshotsav will be observed from September 19 to 28.