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http://www.suite101.com/content/festivals-in-india-go-green-a162880 Today¶s world pollution is a big concern and it poses serious threat to the human health and environment. With unprecedented expansion in population, the pollution in India has sky rocketed. The pollution in India shoots up abruptly due to various factors and the pollution due to festivals is also one among them. The practice of immersion of Ganesh idols after the Ganesh festival in various cities is causing severe water pollut
  http://www.suite101.com/content/festivals-in-india-go-green-a162880  Today¶s world pollution is a big concern and it poses serious threat to the human health and environment.With unprecedented expansion in population, the pollution in India has sky rocketed. The pollution in Indiashoots up abruptly due to various factors and the pollution due to festivals is also one among them.The practice of immersion of Ganesh idols after the Ganesh festival in various cities is causing severewater pollution which leads to the death of tonnes of fish and many aquatic creatures. Gone are the dayswhen the idols are made with clay, nowadays idols are made with Plaster Of Paris and chemical dyes.The repeated cautions and warnings of ecologists and environmental scientists towards the possiblehazards inflicted by the Plaster Of Paris are falling into the deaf ears of the idol makers and buyers. According to scientists, Plaster Of Paris does not get dissolved or disintegrated fast. Moreover, thechemical dyes and colours being used to colour the idols contain poisonous elements. Particularly, Red,Blue, Orange and Green colours contain Mercury, Zinc oxide, Chromium and Lead, the potential causesof developing cancer. According to one estimate, 7500 idols of Ganesh are weighing about 20,000 kg or in other words, 20tons. The sea-shore of Mumbai absorbs the immersion of about 1.5 lakh idols every year. The verycalculation of the accumulation of clay, Plaster Of Paris, dangerous Chemicals from the paints andcolours will shatter the thinking faculty of any brain.The immersion of Durga Statutes during the Durga pooja is also a cause of concern for environmentalists.In Orissa alone 5,000 Durga pooja idols are made, most of them using harmful paints.Heavy metals like lead and chrome are not easily assimilated in an aquatic environment and can lead tothe massive hurt of flora and fauna of the river, pond, lake and coastal areas. As the same river, pondand lake water is used for bathing and drinking purpose high levels of lead can damage the heart,kidneys, liver, circulatory system and central nervous system, the environmentalist warned. As Ganesh festival and Durga pooja is troubling the aquatic creatures largely, Holi, a festival of vibranthues that brings with it a variety of colours is harmful to human beings. The seemingly harmless,³pleasing to eye´ colours are synthetic and toxic because of the presence of cheap materials like mica,acids, alkalis, pieces of glass, which not only induce skin disorders like abrasion, irritation, itching but canimpair vision, cause respiratory problems and also cancer.Diwali, one of the important festivals in India has the distinction of polluting the environment to the core.Newborns and aged people have a nightmarish experience because of the high levels of sound causedby crackers during Diwali. Noise pollution on Diwali is between 69.7 db and 88.3 db which are higher thanthe prescribed limit of 50 db. The decibel levels alarmingly high in metros and it may reach up to 100 db.Crackers are sometimes manufactured using barium sulphate, sodium nitrate, sulphur and potassiumchlorate and when burnt, emit gases such as sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, oxides of heavy metalsand particulate matter that pollute the air and cause eye irritation, respiratory disorders and allergies.The government, police, pollution control boards are suggesting many alternative ways to celebratefestivals which does not pollute the environment. Even strict and stringent warnings are also given to  public to refrain from bursting crackers such as atom bombs, hydrogen bombs, bullet bombs, thousandand ten thousand wallas. But it is all solely depend on the ³change of mind´.In my opinion, the state should take the lead. Nobody is allowed to burst crackers of dangerous kind. Alsothere should be time alloted for bursting them.The best case scenario would be to have the state arrange the fireworks on a massive scale in aprominent place..where in people can come and watch them. This would not eliminate the polution butdefinitely would reduce it. Hindu Festivals Bring Pollution To India¶s Waterways Posted on: Monday, 18 August 2008, 13:20 CDT  As Hindus across India celebrate religious festivals in September and October, many are concerned about the impactof toxic chemicals that are washing off of thousands of idols immersed in rivers and lakes.The pollution is killing fish and contaminating crops, said experts and environmentalists on Monday.The decorated statues are worshipped before they are taken to the rivers, laves and the sea, where they areimmersed in accordance with Hindu faith.But environmentalists have raised questions about the non-biodegradable materials contained in the idols such asplastic, cement, plaster of Paris and toxic dyes. Paints contain metals like mercury, cadmium and lead, which canpass up the food chain from fish to human beings. After the statues are immersed, the toxins then contaminate food crops when villagers use the polluted water for irrigation, said Shyam Asolekar, science and engineering head at the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai. Even small traces are extremely toxic as they persist in the body for a long time and accumulate in the humantissues, said Asolekar, who has closely studied the effects of Hindu customs.  Plaster of Paris, for example does not dissolve easily and it also reduces the oxygen level in the water, saidenvironmentalists.Statue remains from festivities last year still float in rivers and water tanks in Mumbai, where the annual GaneshChaturthi festival culminate in the immersion of some 160,000 statutes -- some up to 25 feet high -- by millions of devotees.Traditionally, idols were made from mud and clay and vegetable-based dyes were used to paint them.But commercialization of festivals such as Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga Puja has meant people want bigger andbrighter idols and are no longer happy with the eco-friendly statues. If we do not respect nature then we are not respecting god, said Manisha Gutman of environmental group EcoExist. About 80 percent of India's 1.1 billion population are Hindus. In recent years, their religious festivals and customshave come under increasing scrutiny as public awareness of environmental issues grows.The spring festival of Holi involves the throwing of colored powder but studies have found that the industrial powdersused are often toxic and can cause asthma, temporary blindness and even skin cancer. Hooli' aaya re! Hooligan festivals occupy their pride of place in the Indian cultural landscape. These festivals arealso known by the names of Holi, Diwali and Ganesh Chaturthi BY OUR HOOLIGAN CORRESPONDENT  19 Sep. 2004Hooligan festivals occupy their pride of place in the Indian cultural landscape. As the festivalseason gets off to a start with Ganesh Chaturthi, it's time to examine some of these festivalsin detail and pass judgment.Whereas several festivals have often been hijacked by hooligans in the name of religion,Ganesh Chaturthi is one which is the mainstay of hooliganland. The beginning of the festivalis marked by the mass production of the elephant god idols in plaster of Paris. Since plaster of Paris addsto pollution of precious waters at the later stage of immersion, this is one raw material which should bebanned in India. Anti-pollution activists are never to be seen when this happens.Later, the gigantic idols are tugged along to the places where they are installed ontrucks accompanied by drum-beating and hooting hooligans. Hooligan festivals canalways be spotted kilometers away by the decibel levels alone. After all, what is funwithout some hooting! Needless to say, the trucks slowly lugging the enormous statuesmove along as moving roadblocks -- that is another characteristic feature of hooliganfestivals. The revellers inconvenience the travelling public under the guise of the larger (read hooligan) interests. The travelling public have little option but to grit their teethand swear. Another common feature of all hooligan-directed festivals is the invasion of the public  roads. All of a sudden, arches and stadia come up right in the middle of wide city roads.Many times, I have been left wondering whether I am in the right place, when roadswhich were okay the previous day grew huge mid-road stadia, with chairs, mikes andchairs for public. The municipality and corporation authorities who bend over backwardsto evict slum-dwellers and hawkers making a living out of footpaths are nowhere to beseen when entire stretches of roads are taken over by hooligans with mikes and hoots. Senior-level executives of a well-known MNC reporting to duty on Holi  Spirituality takes the backseat in all hooligan festivals, pushing many religious-mindedpeople out of this lunatic revelry. I have come across several families who are religiousenough to offer prayers to the Ganesha God at home but stay miles away from thehooligan-directed festivals. As the momentum for immersion builds, hooliganism builds up. I work in a part of Mumbai city which is the hub of Ganesha idols. On evenings when I leave work, I seehoardes of unemployed, illiterate, ugly and uncouth revellers returning after their day's work , hooting and making an ear-piercing noise with a sort of whistle. People whogive dirty looks when a bike revs up can be seen happily hooting along.Chaos is symptomatic of all hooligan festivals. if you have any doubts, check thenewspapers the day after the immersion process to read news of people drownedduring immersion, people stamped to death in the melee and women molested in thecrowds.Holi is another festival hijacked by hooligans. Anyone living in Mumbai and had to go tooffice on Holi day utilising the services of the suburban railway will know what I amtalking about. They can skip this section. The train rolls into the station with splotchesleft by rotten vegetables, drain water, eggs and sometimes, glasses broken by stonesthrown by god-fearing hooligans celebrating the festival of colours. I suggest that Holibe renamed 'the festival of drain water and rotten eggs'. All the windows and doors willbe shut. The train will be a multicoloured slum winding on along the suburban tracks.
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