Authorities Looking Forward to Clean Yamuna Post Durga Idols Immersion

Editorials News | Oct-23-2018

Authorities Looking Forward to Clean Yamuna Post Durga Idols Immersion

Immersion of idols in a river is a custom which is followed since time immemorial. It is considered as a good way to show one’s devotion towards God. People bring God idols at home and worship them and later on immerse them in the water bodies. Like every year, Vijaya Dashmi concluded on the 10th day after the celebrations of Durga Puja in New Delhi. Post celebrations, the immersion of idols of goddess Durga started soon in the national capital's Yamuna river banks. Hundreds of devotees gathered on the banks of river Yamuna on various ghats, mainly on the banks near Kalindi Kunj and Geeta Colony for immersion procession.

The banks of the river Yamuna were seen in an erratic condition after the immersion concluded. Being the second largest river in India, the Yamuna which is also the second most polluted river after the Ganges, was already covered in half-melted pieces of Ganesh idols after last month's procession of Ganesh Chaturthi festival. There are around 20 drains that mix into Yamuna here itself in Delhi.  Alongside, large industries also contribute in the degradation of the river. Delhi covers only 2% of the total length of Yamuna but contributes 80% to its pollution. Various measures are taken from time to time but of no fruitful result have been seen. In a landmark judgment in  2015, National Green Tribunal (NGT), which has the jurisdiction over cases comprising of every kind of pollution and anything that degrades the environment had banned immersion of idols made of non-biodegradable material like quick-setting gypsum plaster, also known as Plaster of Paris, or plastic in the Yamuna river, however, making of idols in the industrial scale reportedly makes the idols from Plaster of Paris which takes years to dissolve and paint which consists of heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and lead. NGT in its observation mentioned that “The practice of idol immersion and dumping of pooja material is common and takes place in all rivers, lakes and water bodies across the country, leading to massive pollution and surface water contamination.” The municipal corporation has started employing regular wage labour to remove the waste from the river. It usually takes a week as the number of idol immersion is high in the capital. Generally wooden scaffolding that held the idols help it to float which helps the engaged workers to deplete it out.  Corporation officials stated that these are reusable and are taken to the corporation stores. Everything else is collected and sent directly to a landfill. As some workers are engaged to find valuables that are put on the idols thus it creates a feeling of greed among the workers to try their luck and earn wages by removing the pollution.

By- Anuja Arora