8. Polluting Pure Water From The Heavens

Water is a sacred element in all religious observances. Whether it is the Hindu practice of abhishekam (washing the divine image) or Christian baptism of a child or the daily Muslim practice of Namaz, water is the cleansing element. But today this pure element which cleanses all, is itself being polluted. One of the Hinduisms, most joyous festivals, Ganesh Chaturthi, celebrates Ganesha, God of all beginnings who protects you against all obstacles. In honour of him, beautiful mud statues are made in the thousands and worshipped in every home. At the end of the festival all the statue are submerged in the ocean, where the earth element merges with the water element.
Unfortunately in the name of sophistication, beautiful images are made of plastic, plaster of Paris, cement and paper. Toxic paints are used to decorate the idol. All these statues of non-bio-degradable elements, are also immersed in the sea and water bodies, polluting them irretrievably.
The Kumbh Mela which is described as the largest gathering of mankind in history, will result in 100 million people bathing in the Ganges. People also drink the holy water, polluted by the temporary tent city built for the Kumbh Mela. As a holy man said, “People focus too much on their Creator, but did not care enough for his creation”. Tests prove that the level of biochemical oxygen demand, a standard measure of organic pollutants in water, is 30 particles per million much higher than the ideal level of 5 particles per million.
Pure, clean water, rains down from the heavens and the rivers, which are the arteries of the earth, carry it to our door steps. Because of mindless pollution, to a large extent by domestic garbage and sewage, 8, 40,000 people die every year from water related diseases. With just clean water, young children can gain 413 million days of health. 443 million school days are lost every year to water borne diseases. 80% of illnesses in developing countries are traced to poor sanitation and water. Girls under the age of 15 are twice as likely as boys to, dropout of school to carry water over long distances for their families. Half the world’s hospital beds are occupied by people suffering from water related diseases. Globally one in every 9th person (783 million) does not have access to clean, safe water. One in every five deaths of children below the age of 5 can be traced back to water. Meanwhile 6100 million litres of sewage is discharged into the Ganga every day. The civic treatment capacity is just one fifth of that.
What can we do:
• Be aware about the detergents and soaps you use. Untreated, it will eventually pollute earth’s finite water resources
• Be aware what goes out in the garbage. Try to compost all bio-degradable garbage in a composting bin, in a big earthen pot or even a hole in the ground.
• Give all paper, plastic and other such items to people who recycle them.
• Flowers, decoration and many beautiful items used in religious worship and weddings becomes garbage the very next day. Be aware what you do with them.
• Do not dump garbage in any water body. Use fish, turtles and other friendly organisms to clean wells and ponds.
• Talk to those disposing your garbage. Find out what exactly happens to it.

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