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Yamuna may be less polluted this Durga Puja

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New Delhi: If all goes well, the Yamuna river may be less polluted this Durga Puja.

Puja committees across Delhi seem to have gone all out to ensure that the idols of goddess Durga are made using eco-friendly materials. This follows a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order that prohibits immersion of the idols made using non-biodegradable materials — because they further pollute an already polluted Yamuna.

Those organising Durga Pujas here say they are aware of the NGT fiat.

“Our idols have been prepared using natural colours. We are using products which do not cause any harm to the environment,” Shekher Guha, Secretary of Delhi’s CR Park Mela Ground Durga Puja Committee in south Delhi, told IANS.

Guha’s team organises one of the biggest — and perhaps most crowded — Durga Pujas in the capital, the main reason being CR Park is dominantly populated by Bengalis.

Puja committees have restrained the idol makers from using chemicals, paints, glitters and plastics which don’t get dissolved in the water body, he said.

The NGT had in September banned immersion of idols made from non-biodegradable material like quick-setting gypsum plaster, also known as Plaster of Paris, or plastic in the Yamuna river.

“Immersion should be allowed only of (idols) made from biodegradable material and not plastic/Plaster of Paris. Only those colours should be used on the idols which are environment- friendly,” the NGT had said.

Guha said the idol markers had embraced the idea of a “pollution-free puja”.

“A few organisers have even prepared small ponds near the ‘pandal’ where they plan to immerse the smaller idols,” Guha said.

Pradip Majumder, vice president of the South Delhi Durga Puja Joint Procession Committee, explained to IANS the steps being taken to comply with the NGT order. He said cranes and other machinery would be deployed at the Kalindi Kunj Ghat along the Yamuna to scoop out the idols within minutes of their immersion.

Every year thousands of idols of Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesh and Kartik are immersed into the Yamuna, resulting in further deterioration of its pollution levels.

Delhi, home to a huge Bengali population, organises hundreds of Durga Pujas every year. Majumder couldn’t estimate the total in Delhi but said south Delhi itself has played host to “100 Durga Pujas”.

A senior Delhi government official told IANS that the administration was going all out to ensure the NGT order.

“We are taking adequate measures to see that the pollution level in the Yamuna doesn’t go up because of Durga Puja,” he said.

Yamuna, which Hindus consider a holy river, originates at Yamunotri, in the Himalayan range. Its water quality is generally considered “okay” till it flows through Haryana and reaches Delhi where it flows in the capital’s eastern fringe. This is where all the immersions take place.

When the Yamuna enters Uttar Pradesh, pollution intensifies — making the once lively river, which merges with the Ganges in Allahabad, dirty as well as stinking in most places.

(by Priya Yadav, IANS)

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Electric Vehicle Can Be The Best For Reducing Air Pollution: Survey

Since we invested in the technology we have often been told that we were making a big mistake betting on battery-powered vehicles.

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electric vehicles
People want electric vehicles to reduce air pollution: Survey. Flcikr

Eighty-seven per cent of the respondents believe that the need for reducing air pollution is the best reason to purchase an electric vehicle, a survey commissioned by Climate Trends and carried out by FourthLion Technologies showed on Thursday.

The survey was conducted online from August 21-24 among 2,178 Indian drivers, vehicle owners and those who plan to purchase, own or drive a vehicle in the next 10 years.

Vehicles account for about 24 per cent of India’s carbon emissions and is a major source for air pollution in several cities across the country.

According to a recent WHO report, 14 of the top 20 most polluted cities of the world are in India.

Delhi Pollution, electric vehicle
Air pollution can also damage your kidneys. wikimedia commons

The survey revealed that most drivers and vehicle owners are personally affected by poor air quality.

Seventy-six per cent say they along with their neighbours, friends or family suffer from poor air quality every day or are starting to show symptoms of being affected by air pollution.

Delhi seemed to be worst affected with 91 per cent of its respondents saying that they or people they know are suffering from poor air quality.

Similarly, high percentages were recorded in Hyderabad (78 per cent), Chennai (75 per cent), Mumbai (74 per cent), Bangalore (71 per cent), and Kolkata (70 per cent).

Drivers and vehicle owners say they are ‘much more likely’ to consider purchasing an electric vehicle after learning that ‘electric vehicles reduce air pollution through zero on-road emissions’ (72 per cent) and after learning that ‘recharging and driving an electric vehicle costs less per kilometre than fuelling and driving a petrol or diesel vehicle’ (71 per cent).

Electric Vehicles
The survey indicates very healthy awareness and potential willingness among the respondents to consider purchasing electric vehicles. Flickr

India is the third largest market for automobiles and the world’s largest market when it comes to two-wheelers.

Over four million internal combustion engine vehicles were sold in India in 2017, and 81 per cent of those sales (20 million units) came from the two-wheeler segment alone.

In comparison, according to data from the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles, less than a million electric vehicles were sold in India, of which 93 per cent were electric three-wheelers.

The survey indicates very healthy awareness and potential willingness among the respondents to consider purchasing electric vehicles.

Also Read: Air Pollution Not Fatal But Could Reduce Life Expectancy By A Year

However, the respondents identified the lack of easily accessible charging infrastructure (59 per cent) and limited driving range on current battery packs (46 per cent) as their biggest objection towards adopting one.

“Since we invested in the technology we have often been told that we were making a big mistake betting on battery-powered vehicles. And today with the world transitioning to the new normal, we are recognized as pioneers in electric vehicles,” Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra said.