Physical versus Social Environment of India’s Environment

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Due to mounting population pressure the physi­cal environment of India is facing great deal of transformation. This has not only activated natural hazards like earthquakes, land-slides, droughts and floods etc. but has polluted air, water and land. Many social traditions and customs are not only helping in environmental degradation but are causing obstruc­tion to environmental management and planning.

The failure of the Ganga Action Plan to clean the sacred river is partly associated to our traditions and beliefs. The disposal of dead bodies, the immersion of idols, the public bathing etc. are the part of Hindu customs and rituals which are based on the notion that the sacred river leads to the path of salvation and under no circumstances its water can become im­pure. Burning of dead bodies through wood, burst­ing of crackers during Diwali, putting thousands of tons of fuel wood under fire during Holi, immer­sion of Durga and Ganesh idols into rivers and seas etc. are part of Hindu customs and are detrimental to the environment. These and many other rituals need rethinking and modification in the light of contem­porary situations.

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