The Copenhagen talks may have failed largely but they certainly have had an impact in some really far off places. Allahabad, a sleepy old town of Uttar Pradesh which becomes alive with swarms of people each year by this time who come to take holy ablutions to wash away their sins, has taken some major measures to ensure that the Ganga river remains the river of the Gods. A very affirmative, no pollution policy is enforced in the 'Magh Mela' region of the city this year.
The rules laid down by the 'Mela administration' (this religious event attractes millions of people and covers an area of many squared kilometers which requires a separate administrative department!) include
- Zero tolerance to plastic inside the Mela region.
- All shops are instructed to use only environment friendly bags and material.
- The thin polly bags are strictly prohibited.
- The sewage water flowing into the river is being looked at (after years of agitation by the localites!)
- Daily water samples of the Ganges are to be taken and analysed for pollution monitoring.
Apart from laying down 'rules' the administration is also trying to create awareness, which is something these pilgrims can take back home and spread to their people as a 'message from the land of the holy Ganges'.
The faith of the people is commendable though. Filth or no filth these people take the holy dip in the Ganga each day with full devotion and sincerity. It is notable that the northern part of India is hit by a severe cold wave with temperatures freezing the mercury and deaths being reported by hundreds, but this does not discourage these devotes to come out in large numbers and take a dip in the freezing waters of the Ganges each morning and evening.s