Pollution and health hazards in Sabarimala (59)

12/01/2012 History of Lord Ayyappa

Of late, with growing number of pilgrims, environmental pollution and health hazards have assumed disastrous proportions, despite the best efforts of the Sabarimala sanitation society and the Ayyappa Seva Sangham volunteers. The effort will be fruitful only if each pilgrim co-operates by reducing his material needs to the bare minimum and refrains from throwing plastic bags, remnants of food particles, etc., on the way. Certainly, pilgrims cannot be altogether blamed for defecating near the pathways and on the river beds as of Azhutha on the traditional pilgrim route because of the inadequate sanitary facilities. A solution to the problems of environmental pollution can be found out only if the Travancore Devasom Board, the State Government, the Government of India and Ayyappa Seva Sangham take up collective responsibility and seek the advice of the relevant experts in the country, and if necessary from abroad also, to implement environmental-friendly plans for providing the basic necessities to the pilgrims. Since the Sabarimala pilgrimage transcends the man-made compartmentalisations and conveys a universal message of one human family, creative and pragmatic suggestions from all quarters can be welcomed.

Hygiene mainly depends on mental disposition and to evoke this sense there should be steady awareness campaign through leaflets, signboards and announcements reminding the pilgrims, the shopkeepers, volunteers and everyone officially or otherwise connected with the pilgrimage of their responsibility to keep the whole region clean and tidy. Pilgrims should be given appropriate guidance for orderly movement along with inspiring announcements on the value and nature of the pilgrimage. The river Pampa and the surroundings have to be kept scrupulously clean and pilgrims should be reminded not to float clothes, food residues, etc., in the river. Plastic bags pose a menace to the flora and fauna of Sabarimala and found to be causing the death of wild elephants that consume the bags smeared with ghee and sugary substances. With aesthetic orientation and efficient planning many of the problems connected with the pilgrimage can be solved and a smooth fulfilment of the pilgrimage, ensured. Nothing is impossible with the application of the human will reinforced with a greater vision.

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