In 2001, the last Puma Kumbh Mela saw 60 million pilgrims bathes in the river. It was said to be the largest gathering of people in the history of humanity. It was visible from outerspace!
|2001 Kumbh Mela from space (top left caroner of image)|
The risk of pollution
This year, the Maha Kumbh Mela, a once-in-144-years event, is expected to break the previous record for human gathering. Over the years, the local authorities have done a great job of providing sanitary facilities, medical facilities, drinking water, and all sorts of facilities such an event requires. However, the one danger that is still a menace is the pollution caused to the river. As pilgrims offer milk in their prayers, the milk packet (plastic cover) is discarded to the flow of the waters. Needless to point out the concentration of all the other usage of plastic covers and bags we take for granted on a daily basis that such an event will conjure.
To counter this, a big awareness campaign has already been set in motion. the UP government is buying out advertising pages in all major newspaper to warn people that a ban on polytene will be enforced.
So if you are atending the Kumbh Mela this year, don't forget your SmallSteps bag!