Hyderabad pioneers safe idol immersion in waterways
The five-day Durga Puja festival ends with statues of the goddess Durga and her children being immersed in the nearest body of water. CityMetric reports that this ancient ritual is cherished by Hindus, but a growing headache for municipal officials worried about pollution.
Hyderabad is among the cities pioneering a safer approach. The Deccan Chronicle, a newspaper based in the south Indian city, explains here that Kalvakuntla Chandrashekhar Rao, chief minister of the state of Telangana, is overseeing the cleanup of Hussainsagar Lake, fouled by the practice. He also wants to construct a new lake to be used only for immersion of Ganesh, Durga and other Hindu idols.
The hundreds of thousands of statues dumped every year foul India’s waterways with plaster of paris, metal and paint chemicals, CityMetric says. In Hyderabad, dangerous levels of zinc, calcium and strontium were detected in water samples from the lake used for immersions. Some worshippers are being encouraged to make statues from soft clay and natural food colorings, which dissolve harmlessly in water.