‘The Theory of Green Screens’ along the bridges over Godavari

A question was raised – what is the need of Green Screens along the bridges over the river? In Nashik, the Municipal Corporation raised Green Screens along several bridges crossing over the Godavari. The intention behind installing and investing in this momentary infrastructure was to inhibit people from directly throwing ‘Nirmalya’ into the stream. But some would say, these ugly looking screens not only disrupts the picturesque riverscape but also blindfolds and disengages people, crossing the bridge, from the river.

Now, what is ‘Nirmalya’? It is religious refuse like dried flower offerings made to the God. And the belief suggests that the Nirmalya should be disposed into naturally flowing water streams like river, lakes, etc. Moreover, today, people are accumulating Nirmalya in plastic bags, and are directly throwing them into the water streams. The bridges over the rivers became a convenient spot for people to dispose of Nirmalya while crossing it. Some people would stop and throw the bag, while others just fling them while driving. To deal with this non-point source of pollution, firstly the concept of Nirmalya Kalash was implemented, but somehow it failed. Later, the concept of putting up Green Screens or nets along the bridges came to the forefront. So, are these Green Screens along with Nirmalya Kalash serving the purpose of reducing river pollution? I would say no. Even with these screens, people either try to fling the bags of Nirmalya over these screens or dispose them at starting or ending points of the bridges. So what is exactly going wrong here?

Nirmalya is something which is produced at individual household and as a result of one’s own belief. Thus, the management of religious refuse should not only be the responsibility of the Municipal Corporation, but even the citizens should bear the responsibility.

Below are some of the alternatives of Nirmalya management module that are running in several other cities:

  1. Kanpur (https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/two-kanpur-kids-have-created-a-business-out-of-recycling-temple-flowers-into-incense-sticks-and-soap-249802.html)
  2. Mumbai (https://www.thebetterindia.com/108040/green-wave-incense-sticks-from-flower-wastes-temples-mosques/)
  3. Pune (http://punemirror.indiatimes.com/pune/civic/nirmalya-fetched-at-your-doorstep/articleshow/60329840.cms)

-Shilpa Dahake | Facebook

News Reporter
I am an architect turned anthropologist. After finishing my Masters in Anthropology from University of Pune, I was working with Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune under a project funded by UNICEF and Integrated Child Development Scheme, Government of Maharashtra. During which I was stationed in Nandurbar District of Maharashtra (which is predominantly a tribal region) as a Field Research officer. Currently, I am a doctoral candidate in Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Mohali, India. My current research explores the interaction of the cultural-religious, the political-economic and the ecological dimensions of the river in Nashik city in Maharashtra. Broadly, investigating how the multiple perspectives of a natural resource overlap, contradict, challenge and support each other, thus shaping the urban landscape and producing socio-spatial inequalities.

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