By Sulaiman Razvi
Minorities in India should be glad that they don’t have festivals like that of Hindus otherwise minorities wouldn’t have been able to celebrate festivals as restrictions would’ve been imposed by tolerant Hindus citing air, water and noise pollution. From birth to death, Hindu rituals and festivals are dangerous for environment. The Azaan of Muslims which lasts no longer than 3 minutes is viewed as noise pollution by Hindus and there were even protests by Hindus and FIRs to stop Azaan.
Hindutva outfit launches campaign to ban Fajr Azaan in India http://www.coastaldigest.com/index.php/news/64901-hindutva-outfit-launches-campaign-to-ban-fajr-adhan-in-india
VHP demands to ban loudspeaker in Mosques http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/vhp-to-fadnavis-ban-loudspeakers-in-mosques/article6676656.ece
HJS organizes campaign to ban loudspeakers in mosques in Thane
Shiv Sena targets mosque loudspeakers
I don’t have to provide any proof to show that Azaan doesn’t last for more than 3 minutes as everyone knows about that even though Hindus have problem with it because it’s related to Muslims. But they have no problem singing Bhajans on loudspeakers, doing Jagrata at night, playing non-stop music at Ganesh Chaturthi and almost on every festival that occurs every month. Hindu organisations do not call for ban on these things because these are related to Hinduism. As I said from birth to death Hindus pollutes the environment, they do Mundan when baby is born and immerses it in pond, lake or river, they do Yajnas where wood is burned and at death huge pyre is set up with wood and cow dung causing air pollution and then the ashes are immersed in ponds, lakes or river. Much damage is caused to environment celebrating Hindu festivals. Hindus relish meat throughout the year but suddenly develop love for animals during Muslim festival called Bakrid (Indian name for Id ul Adha), But Hindus ignore thousands of fish that die after Ganesh immersion due to the toxic. Following are some links with data showing rise in pollution after Hindu festivals like Diwali, Holi and Ganesh Chaturthi,
GANESH CHATURTHI: Water Pollution & Noise Pollution
Dead fish found floating in Milapnagar lake after Ganpati visarjan
Ganesh immersions in water bodies: NGT asks civic bodies, district collector to respond
The pollution from immersion of such idols, the EIL stated, also damaged the ecosystem, killed fish and other marine life.
“Toxic” Indian festivals poison waterways
“Toxic chemicals from thousands of idols of Hindu gods immersed in rivers and lakes across India are causing pollution which is killing fish and contaminating food crops, experts and environmentalists said on Monday.”
“Environmentalists say the idols are often made from non-biodegradable materials such as plastic, cement and plaster of Paris and painted with toxic dyes.
After the statues are immersed, the toxins then contaminate food crops when villagers use the polluted water for irrigation, said Shyam Asolekar, science and engineering head at the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai.
“Even small traces are extremely toxic as they persist in the body for a long time and accumulate in the human tissues,” said Asolekar, who has closely studied the effects of Hindu customs.”
‘Water, air pollution up after Ganesh immersion’
“The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board has found that there was an increase in several pollutants in water bodies and in respirable suspended particulate matter (PM10) in the air after the Ganesh immersion this year. The rise in water pollution is attributed to immersion of idols made of Plaster of Paris and chemical paints.”
“Presence of the respirable suspended particulate matter (PM10) crossed permissible limit in almost all the areas where the ambient air quality was monitored by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB). In some places like Chapekar Chowk and Pimpri, the RSPM level crossed 200 ug/m3 (microgram per cubic metre), whereas the permissible limit is 100 ug/m3. The RSPM, which is a major component of air pollution, is dangerous for human health.”
“The readings before and during Ganesh festival show that the RSPM level was higher during the festival. In Pimpri, the level was 342 ug/m3 on September 19 (pre-festival it was 180.6 ug/m3), 281.50 in Chapekar Chowk on September 29 (63 ug/m3 pre-festival), 112 ug/m3 in Shivajinagar on September 29 (105 ug/m3 pre-festival), 135 ug/m3 in Sanghvi on September 19 (114 ug/m3 pre festival) and 109.6 ug/m3 in Khadki on September 19 (92 mg/u3 pre festival).”
Ganesha Chaturthi: The environmental impact of the festival
Let’s look at some of the facts on the pollution caused by the statues of Ganesha:
Plaster of Paris idols may take anywhere between several months to years to fully dissolve
It also reduces the oxygen level in the water, killing the fish and other aquatic organisms
The paints contain heavy metals such as mercury and lead, which seep into the water as the idol dissolves
The acid content in the waters increases
Idols made using plastic, cement, etc. do not dissolve in the water; thus polluting the water
Several accessories used during the festival like plastic flowers, cloth, incense, camphor and numerous other materials are dumped carelessly adding more strain to the already polluted rivers and lakes
Careless dumping of Ganesh idols in water bodies blocks the natural flow of water which results in breeding of mosquitoes and other harmful pests
The polluted water causes several diseases including skin diseases.
Scientists worried over pollution by Ganesh immersion
“Some studies concentrate on isolating the effects of idols from those of other sources. Impact of Ganesh Idol Immersion Activities on the Water Quality of Tapi River, Surat (Gujarat, India) tells of sampling the water “at morning hours during pre-immersion, during immersion and post-immersion periods of Ganesh idols”. The conclusion: the “main reason of the deterioration of water quality … is various religious activities”, with special blame given to “the plaster of paris, clothes, iron rods, chemical colours, varnish and paints used for making the idols”.
Ganesh Chaturthi: India’s toxic festival
“As a result, the Central Pollution Control Board reports that the annual immersion of Ganesh idols has significantly increased the content of iron, copper, mercury, chromium and acid in water surrounding Mumbai and other western Indian towns. Equally worrying is how Indian fishing communities often find pieces of once-revered Ganesh idols tangled in their nets, alongside dead mercury-laden fish.”
Ganesh festival leaves 50-tonne waste trail in Chennai
Ganesh immersion begins, so does pollution
Ganesh idol immersion kills fishes and other marine lives
Noise pollution rising during Ganesh festival over the years
Noise levels have been consistently rising over the last decade. The festival was noisiest in 2013, when average reading showed levels as high as 114.4 decibels, according to data from COEP. From 2001 till 2014, the COEP has been monitoring noise levels on the concluding day of the festival – during the immersion procession – and has found average noise levels ranging between 90 and 100 dB, Dr Shindikar said.
Ganpati Immersion: Noise levels break all records, reach 123.7 dB on last day
While most Ganesh mandals followed the Bombay High Court order to limit loudspeaker use, the procession on the last day of Ganpati celebration broke noise level records in Mumbai.
Noise levels were double permissible limits on fifth day of immersion
Ganeshotsav: Noise levels above limit at all silence zones
The fifth day of the Ganeshostav festival was a noisy affair with residential areas near Dadar being the noisiest at 112.7 decibel (dB).
Durga Puja: Same as Ganesh Chaturthi
Durga Puja: Yamuna pollution spiked during idol immersion but river cleaning helped
“A report on the pollution levels in the Yamuna before, during and after idol immersion during Durga Puja shows that pollution levels were highest during the time of immersion, but quick action and a river cleaning plan meant most pollutants were fished out within three days.”
Noise pollution went up even this Durga Puja
Ghats scarred by remains of Puja revelry
The west bank of Hooghly suffered large scale pollution as usual during immersion of Durga idols despite efforts by Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC).
Idol immersion shrinks Haryana’s biggest lake, pollutes groundwater
Debris of Ganesh and Durga idols and other puja items were found floating in Damdama lake on Sunday evening despite the district administration prohibiting the immersion of idols in the waterbody.
2016 Polluting Gods: A Photo Story on the Environmental Impact of Idol Immersion
Most of my research is based on the private and public immersions of Durga and Ganesh idols.
The environmental effects of idol immersion on water bodies and the ecology of surrounding areas are worsening with each passing season – something that believers are either unable to understand or vehemently deny. This pollution, along with industrial waste, accumulates in our water bodies, poisoning our water sources.
People who stand by their religious practices have concluded that poisonous materials such as sewerage account for water pollution. However, the high levels of zinc, calcium and strontium found in the water are probably caused by the multicoloured idols which are immersed in the water, not just sewerage. Plaster of Paris, which is used to make most idols, is not soluble, and ends up clogging the earth and being consumed by fish. Other materials such as clothes, iron rods, varnish and paints made from harmful chemicals that are used for decorate idols also harm the environment.
2016 Religion should not be an excuse to further choke our rivers
The jury is still out on the extent of damage to the Yamuna floodplains following the mega Art of Living meet earlier this year. Now tonnes of debris have been dumped in the river after Durga Puja, putting enormous pressure on what was once the lifeline of Delhi. Religion and tradition may dictate that idols be immersed in the river but given its condition, this practice must be lessened or discontinued altogether. The idols and other objects immersed contain toxic paints and non-biodegradable substances. These choke a river which is already gasping for breath — along a 22-km stretch of the river that passes through Delhi, there is no aquatic life at all. The pollution is also due to the fact that at least 21 drains discharge their effluent into the river every day accounting for 67% of the pollution. This poses a huge challenge but measures must be taken not to add to this.
Rivers polluted due to Hindu religious practices
Ganga river is the second most polluted river in the world due to Hindu religious practices.
Know why Ganga, Yamuna are among world’s top 10 most polluted rivers
Ganga is considered to be the holiest river in Hinduism. It originates from the gangotri glacier in the western Himalayas, flows south and east through the Gangetic plain of north India entering Bangladesh and merges into the Bay of Bengal. Due to religious practices, this river has numerous pollutants ranging from household garbage in abundance to industrial wastes and toxic. Amplifying this, the religious offerings made to the river each day along with people bathing and disposal of dead bodies made the Ganges so polluted that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that people living in the vicinity of the river are vulnerable to cancer.
Saffron isn’t green: When religion is the pollutant, can Modi clean up Ganga?
In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, monkeys often become entangled in badly outdated overhead power cables. But Hanuman bhakts consider the dead monkeys so sacred that they perform elaborate rituals, including chanting of shlokas, before gently immersing them in the River Ganges.
But will such an uncompromising approach remain so in the face of the very same Hindu traditions when they run afoul of environmental needs? Will Modi ban religious customs like dumping dead humans, monkeys and cows in the Ganges? Can he silence Hindutva forces which argue that Ganges is so critically entwined with religion that environmental consequences be damned?
A five-star funeral pyre at one of Varanasi’s cremation ghats is a lethal affair consuming over 450 kg of firewood, at least 100 kg of ghee besides incense sticks or dust and can take up to six hours releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and ashes into the Ganges. Electric crematoriums are only for the have-nots or unclaimed bodies from police morgues disposed off at government expense.
Besides 40,000 traditional, open-air cremations every year in Varanasi – or over 100 daily – which often entail dumping of human flesh into the Ganges because everyone can’t afford to buy enough firewood to completely burn the corpse, bodies of sanyasis, children and snakebite victims exempted from cremation are bound with stones and immersed in the Ganges which is also the final resting place of chemical-laden images of Durga, Saraswati and Ganesh round the year.
According to Tripathi, electric crematoriums are a big insult to religious traditions. “The Shastras have laid down that mukhagni (lighting of a fire in the deceased’s mouth) and kapal kriya (shattering of the skull by a blow from a stick to release the soul) are vital for moksha. Neither ritual can be performed if the body is burned in a crematorium.”
“The Shastras have also instructed that bones left after cremation must be immersed in the Ganges. I’m against dumping ash into the river but human remains, especially bones, must be submerged in the river. Otherwise the soul will suffer which is totally unacceptable.”
In the name of God and devotion: Is it really worth taking a dip in toxic Yamuna?
In Varanasi, for example, it is an age-old belief that a Hindu can only attain moksha (liberation from the spiral of birth and death) if he/she is cremated at either Manikarnika ghat or Raja Harish Chandra ghat. The conditions at these open cremation grounds, however, are deplorable. Thousands of corpses are burned there every day amidst a background of discarded bamboo biers, filth, cow dung, abandoned plastic bags and human waste. The ashes from the cremation grounds are then thrown into the ‘holy’ Ganga.
Festivals like Durga Puja and Ganesh Chaturthi are also popular among Hindus. Both festivals involve worshiping idols of Goddess Durga and Ganesha, respectively, for weeks before the idols are immersed into natural water bodies.Many of these idols however, are made of non-biodegradable materials like plaster of Paris. The issue of immersion of these idols which are harmful for the environment, therefore, has been a contentious one, however people continue to submerge idols undaunted.
What’s equally disturbing is that during Chhath Puja (a festival that worships the Hindu sun god, Surya), scores of devotees unflinchingly immerse themselves waist-deep into the waters of the Yamuna. Holy bathing in a natural water body (along with fasting and abstaining oneself from drinking water) is among the many rituals performed during the festival. Of late, concerns relating to the rising levels of polluted particles in the Yamuna have made international news. Dipping into the polluted waters is like extending an open invitation to an array of diseases from skin and eye infections to even cancer in extreme cases. Regardless of the health concerns though, worshippers in the Capital continue to make a beeline towards the various Yamuna ghats – some specially constructed for Chhath – to show their undying devotion to the Sun god.
DIWALI: Air and Noise Pollution
Go through all the links which provides more information, I have copied only few passages.
2016 Delhi pollution: Choking citizens lament burning firecrackers this Diwali
“The responsibility falls on us, we should have reduced fire-works during this Diwali and instead we should have lit lamps,” a local said.
Air Pollution in New Delhi Gets Dangerously High During Diwali Celebrations
The level of particulate matter in the air was more than double that of last year
Diwali: Delhi pollution ‘hits hazardous levels’
Pollution soared to hazardous levels in Delhi on the night of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, reaching 40 times the limit recommended by the World Health Organisation, reports say.
On Diwali night, India gasped for breath
“Twenty of 26 air quality monitoring stations across the country recorded “severe” air quality at midnight on Wednesday night, a level of pollution that India officially rates as its worst possible, and describes as one that “affects even healthy people, and seriously impacts those with existing diseases”.
“On Wednesday night, which was Diwali night, air quality deteriorated across the eight states for which data is available through the Central Pollution Control Board’s National Air Quality Index monitoring portal. Looking at PM2.5 levels – the hourly concentration of very fine particles up to 2.5 microgrammes in diameter which can severely affect respiratory functioning – alone, The Hindu found that even cities with relatively better air quality saw a dip on Wednesday night. Both the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, and the Centre for Science and Environment in Delhi confirmed that firecrackers had contributed to the worse air quality.”
Air pollution on Diwali getting worse
“An analysis of levels of various pollutants on Diwali day since 2010 reveals a disturbing trend. Levels of some pollutants, including sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), seem to be on the rise.
The levels of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 (particles smaller than 2.5 micrometres), which have serious health implications as these tend to get lodged in the lung and can even enter the bloodstream, have been seven to eight times higher than the standard level for several years.
PM 2.5 is associated with a number of health impacts such as asthma, bronchitis, chronic respiratory symptoms including, shortness of breath and painful breathing, and premature deaths. High SO2 levels are also linked with inflammation of airways and severe breathing difficulty.”
Diwali firecrackers push up pollution level across the country
“According to the National Air Quality Index provided by the Central Pollution Control Board in ten cities, the prominent pollutant PM 2.5 was hovering between 200 and 500 in cities like Muzaffarpur, Lucknow, Faridabad, Kanpur and Agra.”
“The air quality was rated as ‘severe’ in Lucknow and Muzaffarpur and ‘very poor’ in Agra, Kanpur, Pune, Patna and Faridabad. Hyderabad and Chandrapur in Maharashtra recorded ‘poor’ air quality.”
“Toxic fume from cracker worsen the killer particles in the air that have already increased by 5 to 7 times than the safe standards. It also deposit deadly chemicals in our environment that will remain trapped for days,” the Centre for Science and Environment said.
“It said, since 2010, average Diwali pollution levels have shown very rapid build-up at least seven to eight times, but peak levels have hit ten times the standard.”
“This leads to very high exposure that harm health of not only those who suffer from respiratory and cardiac problems but even that of the normal healthy people,” the CSE said.
Air pollution to be at its peak during Diwali: Met department
“According to NDTV, SAFAR’s Project In-charge, Gurfan Beig, said, “Winter is now set and temperature during Diwali-2015 is going to be colder as compared to last year’s Diwali-2014 which was in October. There is enough moisture in the air and atmospheric holding capacity is quite high for particles emitting from firecrackers. In all likelihood, air quality during Diwali 2015 is going to be inferior to that of Diwali 2014 owing to cooler temperature and downward shift of inversion layer.”
Records show levels of air, noise pollution exceed permissible limits on Diwali
HOLI: Water wastage and hazardous toxics for environment
As India gets ready for Holi, a reminder of our dire water problems
Holi colours toxic for environment, report finds
“If you thought playing with colours was a safer option than Diwali fire crackers, it may be time to think again.
Scientists have found that Holi, like the festival of lights, is an environmental hazard.
Researchers Joy Joseph Gardner from University of Rajasthan and Deepanjali Lal from Jaipur National University have studied the effects of colours used during Holi on both water and soil, and the study has produced some startling results.
“Holi and World Water Day presented contrasting pictures altogether in the city. On March 22, many took a pledge to conserve water on the occasion of World Water Day. Awareness rallies were taken out sensitising people about various ways to stop wasting water. Just the next day, gallons of water was drained out in Holi celebrations.
After getting soaked in the Holi spirit, many kept the water taps open unnecessarily every which way, not something Vizagities can afford to do so when the city is staring at an imminent water crisis with plummeting water-levels in various reservoirs that meet the demand of the city.”
Dry, floral Holi can curtail water loss
“The wastage of water could be estimated that while playing Holi, a person uses at least two buckets of water. A bucket is of 15 litres, which means that about 30 litres of water is wasted by a person on Holi. If about five lakh persons play with water on Holi, then 150 lakh litres of water would be wasted”
“Endorsing that water is misused during Holi, Institute of Environmental Entrepreneurship, Research, Education and Development (IEREED) have urged the revellers to play Holi with flowers. CK Chabbra of IREED said, “The wastage of water is high during the festival. Nearly two crore litres of water is wasted in a small city and one can imagine the quantum of loss for a big city like Lucknow.” He added people waste water not only while applying colours but also removing it. The toxic chemicals harm the skin and pollute the water causing severe damage to the environment.”
Not just that Hindus most favourite animal, I mean mother cow emits more CO2 than a car.
Many people also molests women on Holi, although this is irrelevant to the post but its worth reading,
“Meghana Sanka went to Nandgaon to witness the festivities this year around Holi and talks about how she was groped and assaulted by different men:
“A Sadhu stared at my breasts and before I could react, put his elbows out, rubbed them against my breasts and walked away. So much for being a Sadhu !”
Men shamelessly robbed her off her modesty. They followed her around, targeting her posterior with their pichkaris. If that wasn’t enough, she suddenly felt a burning sensation.
While we were rounding up our bunch of people, a few locals came up loaded with their big pichkaris and aimed at my posterior and another friend’s back. We tried to move but their pichkaris followed. We hurriedly left the temple only to find that the water had trickled down to my thighs and it was burning.”