Immersing idols in rivers is an age-old tradition in India that has been plaguing the environment over the past decades. While we all know that idol immersion poses grave threat to water bodies, the government has come up with a much needed directive. The Central Government has banned immersion of idols in the Ganga and its tributaries.
"No idol immersion into river Ganga and its tributaries and on their banks", says the directive issued by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to chief secretaries in 11 Ganga basin states.
The Centre has issued this 15-point directive, which includes cordoning off ghats and imposing a fine of Rs 50,000on on those who violate the order.
The directive has been sent to Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Rajasthan
It has been issued under Section 5 of The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Directive states "River Bank and Ghats should be Rs 50,000 fine for idol immersion in Ganga, tributaries: Centre to states cordoned off and barricaded to prevent any stray immersion of idols in the river or its banks. Adequate arrangements should be made for designated idol-immersion sites within the municipal area or bank of river Ganga and its tributaries by constructing temporary confined ponds with removable synthetic liners at the bottom".
Government has further instructed, "All concerned state government, authority, board or corporation should ensure that there is no use of synthetic material/ non-biodegradable material, Plaster of Paris (POP), baked clay, resin fibers and thermocol for making of idols. Besides, the use of toxic and non-biodegradable chemical dyes or synthetic paints for painting of idols should be strictly prohibited."
Besides this, the chief secretaries of the states will also have to submit an action-taken report within seven days from the end of each festival.
The idols which are immersed contain tonnes of varnish and garjan oil along with colours that contain heavy metals like manganese, lead, mercury and chromium. These metals, in turn, disrupt the aquatic eco-system and harm the flora and fauna.
And the immersion adds to the misery of River Ganga water being unfit for 'direct drinking'. Also, not to forget the oil and grease in the river, which suffocates the marine life leading to many deaths.
The initiative was long due and given the fact that our country is already fighting the water crisis, we hope that it's sternly abided by. Better late than never!
Featured Image: BCCL
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