[ This is what we do not see. Holy River is suffering. ]
— Shabab Khan
The verdict of Allahabad High Court forced the Hindu Masses to dispense the Durga Idol in any one of the two ponds dug out by Varanasi administration on the bank of Ganga and filled with gallons of gange jal in the pit.
Even after a huge protest in which more than 22 hundred thousands Hindus took part in order to press administration for granting permission, letting them immerse Durga idols into Ganga. But, administration was firmly determine as chief minister Uttar Pradesh Mr. Akhilesh Yadav must have studied the toxicology reports High Court passed order on the basis of. It will shock you too.
For our relief, Hindus have given their nod to settle for pits filled with Ganga Water.
1. Saryu River:
This River flows through the Indian states of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. The Sarayu forms at the confluence of the Karnali (or Ghaghara) and Mahakali (or Sharda) in Bahraich District.
The immersion of idols of Lord Ganesh and Durga during Ganesh Ustav and Navratris festivals is a major source of contamination and sedimentation to the river. The festivals of Ganesha Chaturthi and Durga Puja witness a massive community involvement. To match the contemporary ethos, new materials are being used for modernising the representation of these idols without much thought being given to the issue of toxicity and its impact on the environment.
Most of freshwater bodies all over the world are becoming polluted, thus decreasing the portability of the water. An investigation was carried out to find out the effects of immersion of idols on water quality of the river by collecting and analysing the water samples from the immersion site of the river. The sampling was done one week before the immersion, on the day of immersion and after ten days of the event .
After analysing the river water samples, it was found that before the immersion of idols the dissolved oxygen level was 15mg/l which decreased during immersion (10mg/l) and after the immersion activity, D.O was 11mg/l. BOD was observed (9mg/l) before immersion, maximum during (14mg/l) immersion and after (11mg/l) the immersion activity. The average values of DO and BOD indicate the presence of organic pollution sources .
Earlier studies reported the high values between 23.0-56.4 mg/l and indicated the high organic pollution in river . The hardness of water is not a pollution parameter but indicates water quality. The BIS recommend the limit of total hardness for drinking water purpose to be 300mg/l and WHO has set 100 mg/l. Hardness was reported between 94.0 and 167.3mg/l in Hanuman Taal, Jabalpur. The results of total hardness were 35mg/l (before immersion), 41 mg/l (during immersion) and 50 mg/l (after immersion).
Turbidity was recorded 30 NTU, 60 NTU and 55 NTU during the three stages of the activity respectively . The water column is disturbed completely during idol immersion causing higher turbidity. Though magnesium is non-poisonous, it increases the hardness of water.
The concentration of Calcium, Magnesium, and Cadmium in the river water was 38.14 mg/l, 8.78 mg/l, 0.003 mg/l before the immersion which increased to 51.57mg/l, 11.58 mg/l, 0.012 mg/l during the immersion and was 60.93 mg/l, 15.75 mg/l, 0.03 after the immersion respectively. Manganese, Lead, Iron, Mercury were found 0.091 mg/l , 0.192 mg/l,0.123 mg/l, 0.575 mg/l before the immersion and 0.182 mg/l, 0.219 mg/l, 0.311 mg/l, 0.617 during immersion and 0.299 mg/l, 0.411 mg/l, 0.521 mg/l, 0.811 after the immersion .
So, the findings of the study revealed that the water quality degraded after the immersion of idols as some of the parameters were above the permissible limit and also reveals a clear picture of the status of water quality at different stages. The higher concentration of some parameters is probably due to heavy pollution load due to the immersions, resulting in the deterioration of the natural water body. Therefore, it is suggested that the authorities should conduct environmental awareness programmes, particularly before the festival to educate the public of the city and make them aware of the harmful environmental effects of immersion of idols. By doing that pollution can be reduce.
The Ganges or Ganga is a 2525 km. long trans-boundary river of Asia which flows through India and Bangladesh that empties into the Bay of Bengal and it is the third largest river by discharge .
The Ganges was ranked as the fifth most polluted river of the world in 2007. Pollution threatens not only humans, but also more than 140 fish species, 90 amphibian species and the endangered Ganges river dolphin .
The Ganga Action Plan, an environmental initiative to clean up the river and for the proper management of water pollution[40,41].
After worshipped, a huge number of Jagadhatri idols are immersed every year in the holy river Ganga at Ranighat, Chander Nagore, West Bengal.
A study highlighted the water quality status in Ganga river during Jagadhatri festival. The study mainly emphasized on the changes of water quality parameters during pre-immersion, immersion and post-immersion periods of idols into the river Ganga. After idol immersion the temperature of river water was 33.0°C recorded during pre-immersion period, 30.4 during immersion and 31.2 °C in post immersion periods.
After idol immersion, pH ranges between 7.26 (pre-immersion) to 7.91 (during immersion) and after immersion pH was 7.65 . From the study, Transparency and Conductivity was found 32.90cm and 210.30 μS/cm respectively before immersion. During immersion and after immersion Transparency and Conductivity was 14.57cm, 283.96 μS/cm and 21.30cm, 265.48 μS/cm respectively. DO, BOD, COD, Total alkalinity, Chloride, Total hardness, Phosphate were found 5.67 mg/l, 2.25 mg/l, 11.10 mg/l, 95.67 mg/l, 14.77 mg/l, 116.33 mg/l, 0.38 mg/l respectively before the immersion and 8mg/l, 6.6mg/l, 18.9mg/l, 124mg/l, 174mg/l, 43.7mg/l and 3.8mg/l after immersion of paint clad POP structure in river.
The chemical compound these idols immerse with are lethal for Ganges Dolphins, Tortoises and Prawns, human being are also suffering from Mercury, Cadmium, Varnish as some of its quantity manage to penetrate all the outer earth’s layer and settle down in water table.
The Yamuna, sometimes called Jamuna, is the largest tributary river of the Ganges (Ganga) in northern India . Total length of the River Yamuna from its origin near Yamunotri Glacier at a height of 6,387 metres to its confluence with Ganga River at Allahabad is 1376 kilometre .
The total basin area of the river is 366223 km2 which covers part of geographical area in the states of Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh & NCT – Delhi. The 22km stretch in Delhi, once described as the life line of the city, today has become one of the dirtiest rivers in the country . River Yamuna, the main source of water supply to national capital-Delhi, plays a crucial role in its growth.
Idol immersion is one cause of water pollution in the river Yamuna as it is widely worshipped by devotees in India. The immersion of idol of Lord Durga during Navratris festival is a major source of contamination and sedimentation to the lake water. During the immersion ceremony, puja articles such as polythene bags, foam cutouts, flowers, food offerings, decorations, metal polish, plastic sheets, cosmetic items, all of which are highly polluting, are also thrown into the water. A study was carried out for assessment of water quality of River Yamuna after idol immersion. The sampling was done in three phases; pre idol immersion sampling, during idol immersion and post immersion sampling.
The samples were collected from 13 different locations such as Thokar No. 8, Thokar No. 12, Ram Ghat u/s of Wazirabad, Sonia Vihar U/S of Wazirabad, D/S of Wazirabad, Garhi Mandoo, Majnu Ka Tila, Khudesia Ghat, Geeta Colony, Haathi Ghat, Nizamuddin , Kalindi kunj and Okhla Barrage of the Yamuna along the Delhi stretch, primary sites for practicing idol immersion.
The composed data was analyzed for the year 2011, to understand deterioration in the water quality of the river due to idol immersion practices. From the analysis, it was found that among from all sampling station, minimum concentration of some chemical parameters such as pH, BOD, COD, Total Suspended Solids (TSS) were 6.9, 1.4mg/l, 16mg/l, 294mg/l respectively before the immersion and during immersion 7.3, 4.0 mg/l, 32 mg/l, 494 mg/l respectively and after immersion 7.3, 3.3 mg/l, 28 mg/l, 430 mg/l respectively.
Also it was found that among from all sampling station, maximum concentration (Figure 13) of some chemical parameters such as pH, BOD, COD, Total Suspended Solids (TSS) were 7.8, 35 mg/l, 124 mg/l, 1366 mg/l respectively before the immersion and during immersion 7.9, 55.0 mg/l, 188 mg/l, 1264 mg/l and after immersion of idols all chemical parameters were becomes 7.9, 38.0 mg/l, 137mg/l.
(Author is an Export Entrepreneur, Journalist, Engineer and Social Activist Against Animal …
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