Immersion of Idols of Gods like Ganesh Ji & Durga Maa & Pooja Material in water bodies is very prominent in India during the festive season. However, the Central government this year has adopted a practice to ban the immersions of Idols & pooja materials in the Ganga River & its tributaries.

Ganga is one of the longest rivers in India. Apart from being worshipped as a goddess in India, the holy river is considered to be so pure that people perform all kinds of religious rites and rituals on the banks of the river. As per Hindu mythology, diving the holy Ganga will eradicate all your sins.

However, the purest river has not been left so pure after all. Across the year, devotees from around the country to become part of a never-ending the religious journey on the banks of holy Ganga. The river has been polluted in such a severe manner that it is almost impossible to restore it to normal conditions.

The two main reasons of Ganga Pollution includes the release of industrial effluents in the river and the other reason being religious sentiments of the people which have turned Ganga into a flowing garbage slurry from a fresh flowing water body.

On account of Ganesh Utsav & Navratri, people immerse idols of Lord Ganesh & Goddess Durga in Ganga, called ‘Visarjana’. These idols are made up of POP and take months and years to dissolve into water. Further, on dissolving it releases salts of nitrates and sulphurs in the river which make it hazardous, posing a great threat to the aquatic life.

These idols are accompanied by pooja material such as flowers, camphor, incense sticks, oil lamps and much more. All of these items become the major reason for pollution of the freshwater body. The degraded quality of the Ganga water has made it non-drinkable. As a result, people who rely on Ganga for their daily water needs have been severely affected.

As per a report from Indian Express, the ‘National Mission For Clean Ganga’ (NMCG) has issued directives to 15 Ganga basin states regarding banning of immersion of idols & pooja materials in the Ganga or its tributaries during festivals. The period of the ban will encompass major India festivals such as Dussehra, Diwali, Chhath and Saraswati Puja.

In a 15-point directive, NMCG has issued directions to prevent idol immersion practices across India including cordoning off ghats. The Nodal agency is aimed at cleaning the holy Hindu River.

The ban prohibits immersion of idols made using synthetic material/ non-biodegradable material, Plaster of Paris (POP), baked clay, resin fibres, and thermocol. This will also prevent toxic and non-biodegradable chemical dyes or synthetic paints user for the painting of idols from getting mixed into the water.

After a meeting between NMCG officials and representatives of Uttarakhand, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal last month, the 15-point directive was developed and the same has been sent to the member states along with other states including Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, and Rajasthan.

The agenda also asks the chief secretaries who are representing the states, to submit a report within 7 days from the end of each aforesaid festival. The report should have an explanation of the actions taken to execute the prohibition.