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Issue 18
, 2009
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Festive season poses toxic threat to Yamuna

Source: The Political and Business Daily, New Delhi, Date: , 2009

The already highly polluted Yamuna faces a fresh threat of toxic elements during Navaratra festival when religious articles are immersed in the river as the government has not so far earmarked separate enclosures for dumping the materials as directed by the Delhi High Court. In absence of alternative arrangements, people have been immersing the religious articles and idols in the river and ruining the water quality further. Even though the government has been spending crores of rupees on its “Save Yamuna” campaign, it has not even managed to ensure designated enclosures to prevent the dumping of religious articles and idols in the river, environmentalist Vinod Jain rued.

According to a survey, more than 300 idols were immersed in Yamuna last year, accounting for approximately 36 tonne of paints and other chemicals and over 15 tonne of puja material, including flowers, leaves and clothes among other articles. Noting that the river cannot take the load of the 'religious samagris' and idols which at times have toxic contents, the court directed the authorities concerned to “provide designated enclosures for such materials in the river Yamuna.” At the same time, the court also directed the Delhi government to create awareness among people to encourage them to immerse the religious materials in a proposed enclosure. “In this festive season, the river will be again inundated with idols and 'religious samagri' that will further choke it with toxic elements,” Jain said, adding, with no effective steps by the government, the threat to the Yamuna is rising day by day.