In order to check pollution of the river waters the West Bengal Pollution Control Board has earmarked two ponds for immersion of Durga idols after Vijaya Dashami. A process to clean the reservoirs almost immediately after the ritual is over will also be undertaken. Kalyan Rudra, the chairman of the board, said similar steps are taken every year for idol immersion in the Ganga and other rivers across the state where the board, in coordination with the civic bodies, makes necessary arrangements to minimise water pollution.
"Two large ponds have been identified in Laketown and Dumdum, where synthetic liners will be used to pull out the idols, its accessories and flowers, right after immersion. The idea was initially adopted by Newtown Kolkata Development Authority," Mr Rudra said at a press meet on Wednesday. The WBPCB will also be monitoring the quality of water in the Ganga in three phases - pre-immersion, during
immersion and post-immersion - to find out if the project was effective and what more could be done.
Mr Rudra further said that the board's helpline service has been upgraded, and people can file complaints about violation of rules. The pollution watchdog will also monitor air quality from Diwali till March next year, Mr Rudra added. "We are setting up 58 new monitoring stations to keep a tab on the air quality across the state. There will be two such stations in each district."
Asked if there was any link between air pollution caused by fireworks and spread of COVID-19, Mr Rudra said no scientific study conducted on the disease so far has found any link between the two, but maintained that he would consult IIT-Delhi experts on the matter.
"We are already examining the effects of burning crop residue through satellite imaging, in collaboration with IIT-Delhi. A similar method could be adopted during Diwali," he said, adding that the board will undertake a sustained campaign to generate awareness on the harmful effects of fireworks.