Moving one step closer to ‘Bappa’ as Pune decides to go ‘green’ and thermocol-free this Ganeshotsav

This Ganeshotsav will be the first of its kind in the city which will be free from the use of thermocol in decorations.

Over the decades, the environmentally hazardous thermocol has been used extensively in the making of lanterns and Ganeshotsav decorations of various kinds.

While the ban on plastic, introduced in the state on March 23, has not been effective, the ban on the sale of thermocol has been near total, as a result of which artisans are unable to make decorative items out of this material.

The Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad municipal corporations have also decided to enforce plastic/thermocol ban during the festival. Civic officials said the ban will be enforced strictly.

Dilip Gawade, additional commissioner, PCMC, said, “As per state government orders, we have issued guidelines to all Ganesh mandals in the city regarding ban on use of plastic and thermocol during the festival. We have formed vigilance teams to monitor the festival. Serious action will be taken against the violators.”

Shops across the city are displaying decorative ‘makhars’ made of corrugated sheet, foam, plywood and cloth as alternatives to thermocol decorations which used to dominate the markets in the past.

On the other side, thermocol artists and manufactures have expressed deep anguish that their industry has been hit badly by the ban.

Harish Jalan, president of Thermocol Sajavat Sanghatana Pune, said, “The government has given permission for packaging thermocol and denied permission for its use for decorative purposes. Similar to the plastic ban, the government should give us some time to dispose the thermocol stocks with us, otherwise the industry will collapse. Sanghatana demands permission to sell thermocol decorative items this year only to clear their existing stock.”

Santosh Shelar of ‘Shelar Arts’ said all the artisans have already completed almost 80 per cent of their orders and if the ban is continued they will suffer huge economic losses.

“We started booking orders last November-December when there was no ban. But now, no seller/distributor is ready to pick up their orders because of this ban. I have invested ₹4 lakh for this season. What will I do if my decorative items are not sold? The government should at least give us one final opportunity to clear our stocks. We will not take any orders from here on,” he said.

The thermocol fabricator and decoration association has approached the Bombay High Court demanding relaxation of the ban only for this year’s Ganesh festival. However, the court has refused to lift the ban on use of thermocol in decorative items.

In Pune, there are nearly 500 artisans involved in making thermocol decorations and more than 3 lakh people are directly and indirectly associated with this industry.

According to industry representatives, nearly 50,000 people gain employment from the making and selling of thermocol decorative products.

PCMC forms 32 vigilance teams to monitor implementation of plastic, thermocol ban

Shrinivas Deshpande

The Pimpri Chinchwad municipal corporation (PCMC) has formed 32 vigilance teams to monitor the implementation of the plastic and thermocol ban during the 10-day Ganesh festival. The civic body has also issued various directives to Ganesh mandals to help reduce environmental pollution and celebrate the festival peacefully.

These guidelines were explained to mandal representatives during a meeting with top civic body officials and mayor Rahul Jadhav.

Dilip Gawade, additional commissioner, PCMC, said, “We are ready to celebrate a plastic and thermocol free Ganesh festival and for this, we have conducted meetings with all Ganesh mandals. We have also issued guidelines to pandals and set limits for noise pollution,” he said.

Mayor Rahul Jadhav, said, “This is the first festival after the plastic ban. Hence, we are ensuring cooperation from all Ganesh mandals during the entire festival. We have also declared silent zones in the city to reduce sound pollution and are appealing to all Ganesh mandals that they should come forward and support us.”

Around 1,000 Ganesh mandals will participate in the festival which will start on September 13. The civic body has initiated the process to implement a strict ban of plastic and thermocol material used in decorative items.

Pandals are not allowed to encroach upon roads with less than 8 metre width. PCMC has identified 65 silent zones in the city and has set maximum sound pollution level.

Gawade said that every mandal should install CCTV cameras on their premises to ensure safety and security of common people. PCMC will not allow setting up of pandals on more than one-fourth part of the actual road which will disrupt vehicular motion.

The civic body has also imposed restrictions on electric decorative items and has advised the mandals to restrict the decorations within a 10 m area.

PMC appeals to residents, Ganesh mandals not to use plastic or thermocol decorations

The Pune municipal corporation (PMC) has appealed to citizens and Ganesh mandals at large not to use plastic and thermocol in any form during the upcoming Ganesh festival.

Newly appointed solid waste management department head Dnyaneshwar Molak, said, “Three meetings have been held with various government departments and Ganesh mandals in the city. In all these meetings, the administration has asked the Ganesh mandals to avoid plastic and thermocol for decoration. The mandals have also given a positive response to the ban.”

These meetings were called by mayor Mukta Tilak; police commissioner K Venkatesham and Pune municipal commissioner Saurabh Rao.

Molak said that the PMC has also instructed its staff to carry out inspection drives to take action against the use of plastic and thermocol during the festival.

Former solid waste management department head Suresh Jagtap said that the traders have also been warned not to sell plastic or thermocol.

Prominent city artist Vivek Khatawkar said that big Ganesh mandals do not use thermocol, but this material is mainly used by small mandals, housing society events and for home decorations. The artists are in favour of banning these things as they are environmentally harmful. The problem, however, is that other alternative decoration materials are costly and not affordable, he said.

Khatawkar said that some artists and decorators have already prepared and stocked thermocol decoration material. “This work starts from a few months before, but now they are facing a problem to sell them,” he said, while noting that artisans working in bamboo and other ecofriendly material have a good opportunity now.

First Published: Sep 06, 2018 15:13 IST

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