Plastic-wrapped Hindu offerings clogging UK canal
(UK source unknown) 1jul02
LONDON - Water authorities in a London suburb are appealing to the area's mainly Asian residents - stop wrapping your religious offerings in plastic.
Hindus in Southall regularly throw items like coconuts and barley into the Grand Union canal in the hope that they will eventually drift out to sea and end up in India's holy River Ganges. But to keep them safe on their long journey, the offerings are generally wrapped in plastic bags.
Thames 21, a partnership set up by environmental organisations and companies to clean up London's waterways, say the non bio-degradable bags are endangering wildlife.
But rather than throw everything into a skip, Thames 21 has appealed to Hindu community leaders to convince their followers to leave the wrappings at home and let the offerings get wet.
"Religious offerings are part of the colour of the canal," Thames 21 spokesman Simon Kenning told Reuters.
"It's not a very nice thought that something that means a lot to them has to be put in a big skip and chucked out." Kenning said the Hindus' first response was defensive but that now the community is showing signs of change.
"There are so many communities living on the banks of the canal, it's just a question of understanding each other's culture," he said.
More than 55 percent of Southall's 70,000 population is of Indian or Pakistani origin.
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