Bundled up in coats protecting them from the still-cold spring, the volunteers – young and old, from Queens and throughout the city – spread out across the beach at Jamaica Bay Sunday afternoon, picking up items scattered across the sand that, to those who left them there as religious offerings, represented beauty and prosperity and renewal. Once lovingly handled by worshipers on the South Queens coastline, colorful statues of such Hindu gods and goddesses as Vishnu, Lakshmi, and Ganesha line the sand in a less perfect form than they once were – their plastic shoulders chipped, their painted facades water-worn.
Spending a couple hours on the shore where many Hindus – especially those from nearby Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, and South Park – go to pray, the volunteers comb the beach for items that worshipers take to Jamaica Bay because it has become an adoptive Ganges River – the spot in India where the water is perceived as sacred and where people will take religious items to be blessed. But, because Jamaica Bay has become such a draw, the coastline has also become increasingly littered with religious items that were put in the water but wash back onto the shore, alarming area park workers and environmentalists who worry what the non-biodegradable goods doing to an ecosystem home to many species of wildlife.
“We like to put offerings in the water, but, when this practice began in the olden days, those offerings were biodegradable – flowers and fruits; it wasn’t the styrofoam and bottles of today,” said Sunita Viswanath, a co-founder of the all-volunteer group called Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus.
That is why Viswanath and the group’s two other co-founders, Aminta Kilawan and Rohan Narine, launched, along with the U.S. National Park Service, a monthly cleanup program, which began Sunday, at Jamaica Bay. Known as “Project Prithvi,” the initiative continues the work that others in the Hindu community have done to pick up the religious items from the shoreline. Additionally, as part of Sadhana’s work, the co-founders said they are going to different Hindu temples to speak to religious leaders and worshipers about the importance of respecting the environment – a message they said has been well received because it is so core to the beliefs of Hinduism.
“When we show community members the damaged, broken idols that we have collected at the beach, that really gets a reaction,” Viswanath said. “They stop in their tracks and say, ‘Wow, we shouldn’t be doing that.’”
Sunday, April 13, 2014
Hindus clean up Jamaica Bay
Posted by Queens Crapper at 12:26 AM
Labels: cleanup, hindus, jamaica bay, national park service, pollution
Good immigrants for once.
It's about time that immigrants respect our land and stop destroying it! How did this get so out of control??
I witnessed the mess that this Third World scum left by Jamaica Bay on several occasions.
this has been going on for a while and its good that this group held a mirror up to their neighbors and hopefully they will be more considerate and aware of their surroundings.you have to see the raccoon population there.go at night and you see their beady eyes,its disgusting and scary.
there should be more effort to clean up the water there,its a color that can't be described.
although I don't know how coronas fit in these rituals.
I think, since we are all from the blood of immigrants, we should understand that, as our people were ridiculed, and then became a part of this country's culture, so will the new immigrants.
But I think that most of the problems with immigrants are caused by the politicians.
For example, the politicians are responsible for keeping various immigrants apart from each other by pandering to them and not expecting them to fully integrate into the American mainstream as others did before them.
Mutually hostile groups are easier to control especially if you send the message that only Big Daddy can 'bring them together' in a process that always has Big Daddy in the middle of some photo op.
I also firmly believe they are responsible for having their hacks post a lot the blatant racism here to discredit a forum where Americans can examine the adolescents that run this city.
Racism at its worst: listen to the pols discuss voting patterns on election nights.
#4 you are absolutely correct in your assertion that politicians are the cause of all our problems. One only has to see how well they are doing in comparison to the people they claim to help
After reading the first two comments to this post, I think you're right on the money, Snake.
I agree 1,000 percent with your first sentance. Many times I do not want to read the comments - loaded with racists and bigots and very depressing. Wish I could deport them out of the country. All I can do is try to get them out of our government aka Tea Partyers,
Thanks to the people who are cleaning it up and educating people. Well done.
"...loaded with racists and bigots..."????
A more accurate term would be sociologists.
Gee George did I push your button?
Many times I do not want to read the comments - loaded with racists and bigots and very depressing.
racists and bigots = Term used by white liberals when they are confronted by uncomfortable facts that disprove their world view, and they wish to eliminate any discussion or debate
oh, oh pushed another button Deke
Because the expression is used, that doesn't mean that the description isn't true, Deke.
Of course, George. That is if you live in right-wing fantasy world.
A bigot is a bigot not matter what color you put on it and that also is true.
This blog is soooo educational.
Love Deke's and Snake's comments.
"Gee George did I push your button?"
"Push your button" What kind of effete wussy talks like this?
A woman. Guess you believe only men know anything - A sexist too. Why does that not surprise me?
Looks like someone needs to look up the terms "effete" and "wussy". They don't denote gender.
Effete - degenerate, woman who no longer can bare children, etc.
wussy - weakling, wimp (would say that could be unisex just like degenerate).
Main definition of "effete": affected, overrefined, and ineffectual. No gender implied.
There's also: "lacking strength, courage, or spirit" which is more likely what George was gunning for.
This site is s-o-o-o educational.
It's wonderful to see such hopeful work being done. Clearly the intent of the offerings is good, as it is respectful of the environment in its nature, and therefore the effort to educate those giving offerings as to what is and is not environmentally acceptable is a really hopeful, worhwhile and lovely enterprise. Well done, all.
Sorry to see so many people clouded this comments thread with useless vitriol, but KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK (:
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