The vendors, hotels and shopkeepers have given up providing articles in polythene bags and plastic material to devotees at Gwarighat on the banks of Narmada river in Jabalpur.
The vendors on the ghats have replaced the small plastic containers to sell flowers and puja articles with a biodegradable container like dona (traditional bowls made from leaves) for deep dan (lighting of lamps) ritual.
Similarly, the vendors have replaced the plastic cup with small steel container to provide liquid items including milk and oil for the ritual.
A devotee has to return back the steel container after performing ritual on the river bank.
There are some 180 vendors, shopkeepers and hotels in Gwarighat. In April 2013, the state government declared Gwarighat a ‘pavitra kshetra’ (sacred place). The maintenance of the Gwarighat is done by the Jabalpur Municipal Corporation. Laxmi Yadav, a vendor selling puja articles, said, “I have replaced plastic cups with dona to sell milk to make environment clean on the ghat”.
The Narmada Dham Vyapari Sangh has taken lead in the green cause. The sangh has 120 members.
Satish Upadhyay, a hotel owner and president of the Narmada Dham Vyapari Sangh said, “Our (traders’) concern is the devotees, who bring the polythene bags and plastic material to hold bhandaras (a traditional feast).”
“Often the devotees after holding bhandaras scatter garbage on the ghat,” he added.
President of Narmada Tirth Samiti, a social organisation working for clean environment in the Gwarighat area, Manish Dubey hailed the traders’ decision. “I am working for the cause of clean Narmada river for last over 15 years and the support of local traders will help to bring down the pollution on the ghat,” he said.