Factors leading to disposal of toxic and hazardous sacred waste and its effect on urban river contamination: Case of Adi Ganga, Kolkata, India

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Abstract Summary
Urban rivers are very crucial for any city and often have to bear the burden of pollution and various other discharges from its catchment area. There are many such waste streams which flow into urban rivers, out of which one is that of sacred waste. It is the waste generated out of worship or puja offerings, mostly from Hindu ritual practices. In Hinduism, rivers are treated as gods and nature is given high respect. In fact, that is the reason that the largest and the national river of India, Ganga, is referred to as mother but strangely enough it is one of the five most polluted rivers in the world. It is this conflict that forms the basis of the research. For this research, Adi Ganga is chosen which is considered as the original flow of the Ganga to the Bay of Bengal as it flows past Kolkata. However, with time, this channel became more of a gutter and the main flow of the Ganga is now the Hoogly by Kolkata. In spite of this, Adi Ganga is still considered extremely holy and all the rituals associated with Ganga is still being performed here. Now, out of the sacred waste has few toxic and hazardous components and this research tries to explain the factors leading to disposal of toxic and hazardous sacred waste disposal. To study this, case study approach was decided upon with three sub-cases. The sites were chosen such that basic characteristics remain same but the scale varies. From the literature two main factors came up – individual or internal and situational or external factors. While there are other factors in play, the most prevalent individual factor for Site A is noticed to be values and personal norms while for Site B and Site C, the most prevalent individual factor is (lack of) knowledge. The most prevalent situational factor for all the sites were found to be subjective norm. As an outcome of the research, the recommendations are to subsidize eco-friendly paints, provide alternative options before banning plastic, raise awareness regarding environment among others.
Abstract ID :
ISO690
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