Please refer to the article” Save Devika “published in DE on May 5,2019. The author has presented the tale of pollution of Devika very nicely. It looks that the author has not only the knowledge about Hindu mythology, but has also a keen interest in highlighting the most burning social issues. I do agree with the author that the private stone crushers operating in the area are not following the prescribed norms which leads to pollution and degradation of soil,water and air. Another matter of shame is that we the Hindu people worship rivers, trees and stones, but at the same time we leave no stone unturned in doing worst possible harm to these natural bodies. As per my personal knowledge and experience, there are the people who worship the holy rivers by throwing solid plant waste and ash into the rivers.
Another worst thing is regarding worship of the most sacred Peepal Tree. Instead of offering clean water to this tree, the people offer oil, smoke and heat. It is observed that people burn lamps (deepaks) at the base of the tree and also burn dhoop, which gives heat to the tree. As observed, the bark of the tree gets damaged due to these burning activities. Some times, the thread wrapped around the trunk of the tree catches fire causing burn injuries to the tree, but our people don’t understand the reality and the pollution in the name of worship continues.
In this context, I would also like to mention here that a renowned agricultural scientist Prof R D Gupta has highlighted the issue of pollution of river Devika in detail in his book titled” Wildlife and Wetland Ecosystem of Jammu and Kashmir Himalayas,” In chapter XII titled,” Holy Devika or Devak River”, the main causes and consequences of pollution of this sacred river have been analysed in detail wherein it has been reported that diversion of the industrial waste into the river have rendered the water unfit for any kind of use including drinking, washing and irrigation. Besides, the author has also given a few valuable suggestions for the improvement of quality of water of Devak River which includes constant water quality monitoring, weeding and cleaning, banning, throwing of sewage waste into the river, afforestation and creating awareness about the economic and religious importance of the river.
O P Sharma