Immersion of Idols in Water Bodies Cause Pollution: Madras High Court

The High Court of Madras ruled that immersion of idols in water will pollute water and it definitely poses a threat to biodiversity. The Court criticized the tradition of immersing idols and stated it as an offensive practice towards water which is to be stopped. The Court was rendering its ruling while hearing the petition filed by two men for bail who were charged for murder and arrested for involving in a clash at the time of idol immersion ‘Vinayaka Chaturthi’ festival last month. Justice S Vaidyanathan also admitted the fact that it is impossible to enforce environment law in all the stages of idol making, but the Court opined that it will be better to built artificial ponds in some areas to immerse idols when celebrating festivals. This will definitely be an effective method to stop the practice and polluting water, the Court added.

The Court further pointed out that it is true that immersing of idols in water bodies is attached to religious practice but it will have evil effects on the environment. As a result of such immersion, grass, wood, bamboo, colours, clay, flowers etc mix up in the water. Some of the idols might have been made with toxic substances that poses very serious threat to the environment. In addition, it will also be dangerous to micro organisms and other marine creatures. It damages the ecology, fish and marine life and result in the causing harmful effect to the birds, human beings and animals that are dependant on such water bodies. The oxygen level in the water will also be another dangerous threat.

The bench also stated that the Government had already taken measures to impose guidelines stipulated by the pollution control board related with the immersion of idols in water. According to the guidelines, idols are to be made from materials that does not cause pollution like natural materials provided in holy scripts. Such use of traditional items should be promoted and encouraged. Painting of idols is also banned under the guidelines. The people who make idols should not use thermocol or any type of non-biodegradable materials for decorating.

Adv. Jewel Panicker