Hindus in Queens, New York are being blamed for littering and contributing the majority of debris that is accumulating on the beaches connected to the same body of water as the Rockaway Sanctuary. City park official have been recorded to be quick to close off beaches, post signs and give out fines to try to stop the debris build up. An organization was started by Aminta Kilawan to protect both tradition of the Hindu offering and the environment. The organization is called Project Prithvi, and have been going to debris sites to clean and expose of unwanted material.
This article was written by Prem Calvin Prashad who has background writing and working with Asian issues. He has a program certificate from Fudan University for chinese, business, language and culture. He has been writing and editing for Times Ledger Newspapers for 4 month, which is the news source of the Hindu article, and been in editing for over two years now for Asian Pacific Americans for Progress. Times Ledger Newspapers has been up and running for Queens since 1919, making them a trustworthy source of information.
In the article, Prem said that the Hindus could possibly use clay murthis (small figures or idols) instead of plastic. He said that the plastic just breaks and shatters after being in the water for awhile, making it be disrespectful of the icon. I agree that the shattering of the murthis would end up being disrespectful and somewhat hurt the ritual meaning. Clay dissolves over a shorter amount of time and does so quickly making it harmless to wildlife and a better symbolic way of deteriorating back to earth. Also with it being made out of clay, the murthis becomes part of the body of water, rather than sitting on a public beach where it would be thrown away eventually. Not all offerings are murthis, but changing this one thing will help.
Kilawan, founder of Project Prithvi, stated that the best way to accommodate the religious Hindu community in the issue would be to adopt a beach and take care of it themselves. This would be a great way to help reduce the amount of debris that is dropped or offered into the body of water. I think that it would bring the Hindu community together more as well.
Author: Prem Clavin Prashad
News Source: Times Ledger
Date Published: 9/23/2013