Report by Isha Foundation on Maha Shivratri festival held in the area of Velliangiri hills, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, 03/11/2020

  • 03/11/2020

Rejoinder by Isha Foundation to the TNSPCB report in the matter of M. Vetriselvan Vs Union of India & Others in Original Application No. 42 of 2017.

The rejoinder report was in response to the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) report on solid waste disposal by Isha Foundation during and after the Maha Shivratri festival and also regarding the noise level during the festival. The report said that the Maha Shivratri festival was never an hindrance to the people and animals in the locality and there had never been any environmental concerns. The festival was famous in the area even prior to the formation of the Isha Foundation due to the presence of Velliangiri Andavar temple.

Lakhs of people climb the Velliangiri hills during the Maha Shivratri. The foundation has been conducting the Maha Shivratri festival "with utmost care without causing any damage to the environment". The land in which the festival is conducted is not forest lands but patta lands and the foundation has placed sufficient number of volunteers and labourers during the festival time to oversee and collect the waste. The waste collected in the bins were segregated into biodegradable, non-biodegradable and domestic hazardous wastes.

The biodegradable waste is converted into manure by the process of mulching. The non-biodegradable waste and domestic hazardous wastes were being disposed of through authorised dealers in an environmentally safe manner. The report by the TNPCB also mentions that the foundation distributes free food for the volunteers and devotees in areca leaf plates. The solid waste generated is disposed by adopting scientific methods as per SWM Rules, 2016. With regard to noise pollution, the speakers are kept in the program venue only, which are kept a few kilometers away from the forest boundary.

The light and sound systems are set up for the facilitation of the visitors to the festival.