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Written By: Priyanshi Raturi, Environmental Engineer

Holy rituals are to be followed but it should also be in sync with the times. We may following the traditions but not accepting some changes in the rituals should not be done and it keeps our future at stake. Immersing deity idols in rivers is one such example. People wish to immerse it into the holy waters as they have been doing for decades, being completely blind to the impact they are causing and damage they are posing towards aquatic life.

They somehow forget that earlier the idols were made of clay and sand which were garnished with vegetable colours and biodegradable materials, everything was raw and organic. With changing times and for one’s convenience, it’s “Us” who shunned those ways and polluted the environment.

In addition to this, water is a gift granted to us, it is our moral duty to protect and preserve the purity of water. In today’s times, the idols are painted with pigments containing lead, chromium, nickel, cadmium and heavy metals which make them non-biodegradable. This forms a filmy layer on the surface of water after idol immersion and reduces the dissolved oxygen (DO) level and prevent the sunlight from penetrating into the water, thus disturbing the entire river ecosystem.

To put an end to this, there are alternatives that are the need of the hour which can keep rituals intact. Given below are some solutions to the ongoing threat and we should implement and promote some environmental friendly ways.

Firstly, we should try to reduce pollution from the initial step that is formation of the idol. Eco friendly and Organic materials should be used to make idols like clay, sand, newspaper, cow dung, sugarcane etc.

Secondly, Using natural dyes like dried flower- powders can be used as dry-colour used in Holi- festivals to decorate the idols is one of the best ways to reduce chemicals and heavy metals into the rivers.

Thirdly, artificial ponds should be made for idol immersions. They are the best ways to reduce water pollution in water bodies. Certain ponds can be designated in particular regions for this purpose. It helps restrict pollutants and heavy metals in the idols from entering into the water.

Lastly, the above artificial ponds can be used in all festivals like Durga Puja, Ganesh chaturthi, etc. By this we can also recycle the clay and other material for use next year.

Let’s get together to define a new green lining this festive season and educate the people around us to bid adieu to false practices and add new constants in our changing future.

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