PCBA guidelines for eco-friendly Durga Puja

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HT Correspondent

HAFLONG, Sept 12:Pollution Control Board, Assam (PCBA) has issued guidelines to all puja committees across the state for celebration of Durga Puja in an eco-friendly manner. The puja committees have been asked the celebrate the puja without violating the provisions of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and Environment Protection Act, 1986.

As per the general guidelines, the idols of Goddess Durga should be made from natural materials as described in the holy scripts. Natural clay, bamboo, choir ropes, straw, etc., should be used instead of baked clay, plaster of paris, synthetic ropes, etc., that cause damage to the environment.

“For painting idols, non-toxic water soluble biodegradable paints are to be used. Use of chemical dyes containing heavy metals like lead, cadmium, etc., or carcinogenic organics which cause immense pollution to water sources must not be done. Use of thermocol for decoration of image or puja pandal or as drinking glasses should be avoided, as this material leads to exothermic self-decomposition contributing extra heat to global warming,” the guidelines read.

The puja committees have also been asked for playing music systems, microphones and drums within the ambient air quality standards in respect of noise level as per provision of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control), 2000 and that there is no use of music system , mics or drums before 8 am and after 10 pm.

As per the guidelines worship materials like flowers, vastras, decorating materials made of paper and plastics is should be removed before immersion of the idols and the biodegradable materials be collected separately for recycling or composition. And the non-biodegradable materials are collected to disposal in sanitary landfills. The clothes may also be sent to the orphan houses etc.

The guidelines suggested to cordon off and barricade the idol immersion points and use of synthetic liner in the bottom well in advance of the immersion so that on completion the remains of the idols can be brought to the bank. The bamboos and wooden logs maybe reused whereas the clay etc is taken to sanitary land fill for disposal.The PCBA, in its general guidelines for local bodies/authorities, called for arrangement of adequate number of designated immersion ghats to avoid overcrowding and localisation of water pollution.

“Sufficient numbers of bins/containers are to be provided to avoid littering of food and other wastes etc. These bins or containers, wherever placed, shall be cleared before they start overflowing. Disposal should be done under the provision of Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) Rules 2000,” it said.

Some other recommendations included keeping vehicles away from puja pandals as far as practicable; providing of utilities such as clean and disinfected drinking water and adequate lighting arrangement along with CCTV cameras in the pandals; adequate drainage facilities in the premises of the puja pandals to avoid water-logging; stretching the immersion ceremony to over two days to avoid pollution of water-bodies and overcrowding, if necessary; and formation of a coordination committee comprising district administration officials, municipal officials, police, NGOs, etc., for guiding the public and the puja committees for carrying out immersion with minimum adverse effect to the environment.

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