‘Prayer chamber’ near Hindon river to lower pollution

Ghaziabad, Nov 20 (Inditop.com) The Hindon river can literally breathe easy now. Civic authorities here Friday launched a huge ‘prayer chamber’ along the river banks especially designed to immerse puja ritual materials like flowers and ash – in a move to clean up the river and reduce pollution.

Called ‘Hawan Kund’, the chamber has been filled with water from the Ganga river, considered sacred to the Hindus. Apart from constructing a separate chamber, the Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation has also introduced special carrier vehicles to pick up the left-over prayer materials from temples and homes across Ghaziabad.

Painted red and yellow, the carriers would operated in all the five zones – Kavi Nagar, Vijay Nagar, Mohan Nagar, City and Vasundhara. The drivers would also sport smart red and yellow uniforms.

“Rising pollution in Hindon river has been the biggest challenge before us. Even after installing tall green railings all along the bridges and its periphery, people didn’t stop from throwing waste directly into the river…either from vehicles or from moving trains. We were thinking of a scheme to deter people from dumping waste into it,” said

Ghaziabad Municipal Commissioner Ajay Shankar Pandey, who launched the chamber.

He said the project near the Hindon, a tributary of the Yamuna river, had been planned keeping people’s religious sentiments in mind.

“The Ganga water in the prayer chamber along the river is used in sync with Hindu traditions. Ganga has great mythological significance and people would be immmersing the prayer left-overs directly into such (holy) water,” Pandey said.

And to save people the trouble of coming all the way to the Hindon to dispose off religious waste, the municial corporation has installed ‘prayer boxes’ in various temples located in different areas.

“As it was not possible to send vehicles to every doorstep, temples in each locality will serve as collection centres from where the vehicles would pick up the material. People would only have to walk to their closest temple,” Pandey said.

As per the latest figures available with the Corporation, the city has around 492 religious sites.

The telephone numbers of the disposal service would be painted on the carrier vehicles so that people can even call them to their homes to collect the waste.

The Hindon River originates in Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh and passes through districts like Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar. It was supposed to have been cleaned up under the second phase of the Yamuna Action Plan. But over years, religious waste like ash and flowers and untreated effluents from factories have alarmingly raised the pollution levels of the river.