Recently Ganesh Chaturthi was celebrated with much vigour and enthusiasm in Maharashtra. And just like every year, it was amazing. The visarjan was even better. It was a sight to behold.
Although, it did cause certain problems in the sea the idols were immersed in.
According to Mumbai Mirror, the idols that are immersed into the sea after Ganesh Chaturthi, use Plaster of Paris, chromium, lead, aluminium and copper, that dissolve in water and turn it toxic.
Not only do they damage the gills of the fish, but PoP also reduces the oxygen level in the water.
The report showed thousands of dead fish, among other oceanic life forms getting washed up on Mumbai shores.
Look, our environment is already in a delicate place. Earlier this year, the sea had thrown back 9 tonnes of garbage back to the land.
Besides, there are multiple spots in the city, that are quote eco-friendly for visarjans!
Nobody is stopping any of us from celebrating festivals. We just need to be a little more sensitive towards the environment, considering that our survival as a species, depends on it.
And then there is Diwali. It is a terrific time to be with family and friends.
But the problems that arise out of it are very well documented.
The festival of light quite ironically hampers the visibility level in the national capital every year for days after the actual celebrations are completed.
According to The Guardian, in 2017, the air pollution levels the city had hit 18 times the ‘healthy limit’ just hours after Diwali.
So maybe, this year, while we are are having a good time with people we love, we ought to remember that the next day and days after that we will be subjecting those very people and countless others to live and breathe inside an active chimney.
Last year, in some parts of Delhi, the pollution level had reached as high as 941. Mind you, the highest is 999, beyond which no measurements are available.
BTW, according to the US Embassy in Delhi, anything up to 50 is good. Anything above that will most likely kill us!
And of course, we have the Kumbh Mela.
It’s admittedly one of the most sacred festivals and it does give a much-needed boost to the tourism industry.
But it sees tens of millions of people every year who practically use the Ganga for all purposes.
In 2014, a test carried out by the Uttar Pradesh’s state pollution control board, found that the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), the indicator for organic pollution was more than 7 mg per litre, more than triple the accepted level, that too on the first day of the Mela.
The crowd is so huge that accommodations for everyone cannot possibly be made, which means open defecations across the city!
The rivers themselves are full of ash from cremation, rotten coconuts and marigolds and other offerings. What’s worse is that devotees consume the same ‘holy’ water.
The fact of the matter is that Earth hasn’t seen this much of carbon dioxide in the environment for a very long time.
It might seem extremely slow, owing to the vastness of time, but we are getting there faster than we care to admit.
We are not saying that we shouldn’t celebrate anything. Of course, we should. Festivals are a good way to catch a break, celebrate our spiritual or/and religious identities.
But the truth is, life on Earth is dying faster than it should, owing to global warming and sustained and yet ever-increasing levels of pollutants. So maybe, we need to hold back a little, be more careful, or we doom ourselves to be the first species to annihilate themselves.