Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A million Indian idols raise pollution scare

Experts warn that the Indian tradition of washing idols of the elephant-headed god Ganesha may contribute to pollution of the sea and rivers.

The 10-day Ganesha festival ends with a million or more idols dunked in any available natural water source killing large stocks of fish and other aquatic life every year.

Most of the damage is caused by lead, copper and other metals in the paint that washes off from the idols.

Some worshippers, who are aware of the problem, have begun making the idols of fruit, paper, mud or other more benign materials.

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