Ankitha Naishadham

The BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) level in Hussian Sagar has gone up from 34 mg/l to 57 mg/l. BOD is a measure of quantity of oxygen used by organisms to decompose matter. This number goes to prove that the pollution has gone from bad to worse in Hussain Sagar. This year around 21,600 idols of more than one meter length, width, hieght were immersed in Hussain Sagar alone when compared to last year’s figure of 40,000. The big idols of Kahairtabad , Balapur only add to the chaos. To facilitate distribution of idols which come for immersion, the officials have identified 23 other lakes in the surrounding areas of Hyderabad. Countering this move, ecologists in the city predict that in the coming five years, these identified lakes will also turn into another Hussain Sagar.

GANESHTeams from Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation  and Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority departments extricate idols debris every year after the ‘ Maha Ganpati’ of Khairtabad is immersed. This year, the authorities removed 4,990 tonnes of idol debris and cleared as many as 20,000 medium sized idols from the lake. Specialised equipment had to be pressed into service for this purpose; besides 2,000 workers of HMDA and GHMC along with NGO volunteers were engaged.

Telangana State Pollution Control Board (TSPCB) Senior Environmental Scientist, N. Raveendhar said, “Kaolin which is also called white clay along with paper and gum is used to make 5ft Ganesh idol. When these idols are immersed in the water they break open and increase the alkalinity of water which alters the pH value adding carbonates, bicarbonates and sulphates disturbing the ecology of the lake.”  Removing these small idols from Hussain Sagar becomes a tedious task for the GHMC officials.

However N.Raveendhar said, “The large idols are removed from Hussain Sagar soon after the immersion but the heavy metals present in the pigments used in the paints harm the quality of water”. Chemicals such as lead, copper, manganese, nickel, cobalt, chromium mercury, cadmium are used in the paints. Over a period of time these metal particles getdisintegrated and accumulate in the water. These sediments disturb the quality and  ecology of the lake.To promote traditional practices and make available clay idols several voluntary organisations came forward to distribute free clay idols across the city this year. Speaking on this, N.Raveendhar said, “TSPCB believes in our traditional use of clay idol.  We initially thought of distributing 20,000 idols but raised our numbers to 1.7 lakh due to the good response from public.”  Similarly several NGOs distributed lakhs of clay idols and Society for Awareness and Vision, SAVE an NGO which has been working for this cause since 16 years   distributed five lakh idols at their premises  in Indira Park.