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Kolkata observes Idol Immersion ceremony as Durga Puja ends, amidst Tight Security

The second day of immersion is considered to be the busiest as more than 150 community Puja committees immersed the Goddess Durga idols in the Hooghly river

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Picture of Durga immersion (Wikimedia Commons)

Kolkata, October 13, 2016: Durga Puja in Bengal was over and idol immersion continued in full swing on Thursday after a day’s pause on Wednesday in view of Muharram, a day of bereavement for the Muslims.

The second day of immersion is considered to be the busiest as more than 150 community Puja committees immersed the Goddess Durga idols in the Hooghly river from 22 river banks in different parts of the city.

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The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) took active steps to clean the river and its banks following the Calcutta High Court’s order to remove the idol structures within 24 hours of the immersion.

[bctt tweet=”More idols are set to be immersed on Friday. ” username=””]

“We have deployed cranes and pay loaders in all the major Ghats (river banks) to remove the structures immediately. The KMC personnel are deployed to keep the premises clean and flowers are being dumped separately,” said KMC’s Mayor-in-Council Debasish Kumar.

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The ritual continued amidst tight security and surveillance by Kolkata police and river traffic police throughout the day. The disaster management unit of river traffic guard was also alert to avert any untoward incident during the immersion, police said.

“KMC is ready to complete the immersion ceremony in a proper and peaceful manner,” he added. (Source: IANS)

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Water Pollution Threatens Nearly All Globally Agreed Development Goals

This study was a huge wake-up call to us about the quality of water worldwide

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Water Pollution, Globally, Development
FILE - A fisherman dangles his line to catch fish in polluted water off Beirut's seaside Corniche, Lebanon, June 23, 2019. VOA

Water pollution threatens nearly all the globally agreed development goals to end environmental destruction, poverty and suffering by 2030, economists warned in a report Tuesday, citing the largest-ever database on the world’s water quality.

The World Bank report warned of the ripple effects of water pollution on the health, economies, education and agriculture of rich and poor countries alike.

“This study was a huge wake-up call to us about the quality of water worldwide,” said Richard Damania, World Bank economist and one of the study’s authors.

“The world tends to focus on water quantity such as floods and droughts, but this report focuses on the more invisible threats — the effects of pollutants impacting global water quality,” Damania said.

Water Pollution, Globally, Development
Water pollution threatens nearly all the globally agreed development goals to end environmental destruction, poverty and suffering by 2030, economists warned. Pixabay

The 193 United Nations member states agreed on Sept. 25, 2015, to a lofty 15-year agenda of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with 169 targets aimed at helping everyone live healthier, more prosperous lives on a cleaner planet.

SDG 6 refers to clean water and sanitation for all, but the U.N. World Water Development Report found about three out of 10 people — 2.1 billion — did not have access to safely managed drinking water at home in 2015.

In sub-Saharan Africa, coverage was only 25 percent.

“Chemical contamination such as arsenic in Bangladesh, mercury in Maputo and fluoride in parts of Kenya are major concerns,” said Neil Jeffery, the CEO of water rights group Water Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP).

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“Clean water brings dignity. Entire communities are trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty, with a lack of basic water and sanitation impacting health, school attendance and livelihoods,” Jeffery told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Information key

The World Bank report used satellite data and artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze nitrogen, salt and oxygen levels — water health markers — of water globally.

“Pollution affects countries both rich and poor. It is just the cocktails of chemicals that change,” Damania said. “Plastics and pharmaceutical contaminants are problems everywhere.”

Water Pollution, Globally, Development
The World Bank report warned of the ripple effects of water pollution on the health, economies, education and agriculture of rich and poor countries alike. Pixabay

Ripple effects of consuming pollutants include childhood stunting, infant mortality, lowered economic activity and food production.

“Information is the first step,” said Damania, in league with water rights groups.

By way of example, Jeffery cited that “informed consumers can make decisions to keep rubbish out of waterways.”

And they can pressure corporations and government “to take the challenge seriously,” said Javier Mateo-Sagasta, senior researcher at the Water Management Institute (WMI).

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The report said that the scale of the problem meant there is “no silver bullet,” but Damania remains optimistic that “social movements, political and corporate will and new technologies” could still save the threatened resource. (VOA)