Dump, dump, dump, dump…. but how much more?
Countless amount of waste is dumped in our rivers each day. However, we will continue to do so till the phrase ‘Water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink’ changes into a nightmarish reality, isn’t it?
In the name of religion, idol immersion is a practice that has, over the years, become a primary source of water pollution. In earlier times, mud, milk, coconut and other environment friendly products were used. The main problem arose when non-biodegradable materials such as synthetic colours, clothes, polish and other chemicals were used for idol making. However, in the wake of recent environmental crisis, there are many who have taken upon themselves to strike a balance between religious traditions and environmental well-being.
STORIES OF ENVIRONMENT ENTHUSIAISTS
On the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi this year, Nilesh Tupe from Maharashtra took an environment friendly route and made his idols from cow dung.
Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), in August 2017, had built 15 artificial immersion ponds to prevent idol immersion in Hussain Sagar Lake.
In September, few artisans from West Bengal’s Nadia district used mud, water colours, straw and bamboo to make and decorate their Durga Idols.
In an ecofriendly style, Delhi’s Chittranjan Park, had dug two pits and covered them with a tarpaulin to hold water. The idols, made with biodegradable material, were immersed into the water, until only the bamboo frame was left, which was given to the craftsman for later use.
In a similar fashion, there are several unheard heroes who have been working hand in hand with environment and religion.
HOW CAN WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
While following the guidelines issued by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for idol immersion, we can make a considerable change:
Encourage eco-friendly idols made of natural materials such as traditional clay. Discourage the use of baked clay and Plaster of Paris. Synthetic colours and toxic dyes should be kept at bay; instead water soluble colours should be used.
Remove flowers, leaves, ornaments and Vastra (clothes) before the immersion of idols. Biodegradable material should be kept separate and recyclable products should be returned back to the craftsman. Clothes, on the other hand can be donated to Orphan houses. Non-biodegradable should be separately disposed off to sanitary landfills.
Artificial water surface and temporary ponds must be used for immersion rather than rivers. This will prevent contamination of rivers and other water bodies.
Last but not the least; awareness is the key to gather active support from the citizens.