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Flower pollution in the Ganges River (2)

by Floro Mercene

Many of the flowers used in temples and festivals are released into the river, because the Ganges, the Mother River, is believed to wash away people’s sins and bad karma together with the flowers.

You can imagine the surface of the river is covered with flowers and eventually those will be rotten causing flower pollution.  There are some people who are trying to make a difference.  One facility in Delhi was thinking about how they could offer disabled persons work. Now, members of the facility visit 50 temples a day and collect 300 kg of used flowers.  Temples are convinced that changing the traditional way of releasing flowers to the river will make the Mother River clean again. 

The collected flowers are made it incense sticks and candles.  The colorful powder made from dried petals of Marigold has become a best seller.  In a major Hindu Festival people splash colorful powder to each other to exchange their happiness.   Since chemical powders are harmful to people’s health, natural powder has become popular.  The project started with 20 people and has now 300.  Disabled people can’t find jobs easily.  This project gives an opportunity to work and get a stable income.

The river is contaminated with large stretches of toxic waste and sewage. The Indian Government committed $3.06 billion in 2014 for the clean-up the holy Ganges River in the five years to 2020.  About 80 percent of 1.3 billion people in India are Hindus who worships the Ganges, and believe a dip into the river absolves a lifetime of sins.  It is listed as one of the ten most polluted rivers in the world.  Everyone hopes the mother Ganga runs clean again.