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As part of its efforts to keep the environs in Sabarimala free from plastic, the All India Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajam is launching a campaign in the Andhra Pradesh to educate devotees on the ill-effects of using plastic material. The theme of the campaign is ‘Clean Sabarimala and Green Sabarimala’A survey conducted by the organisation revealed that more than 5.50 crore pilgrims visit the hill shrine every year from November to mid-January. Of them, 45 per cent devotees are from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Right from Pampa to Sannidhanam, one can see pla bags strewn on either side of the trekking path, posing danger to wildlife.
Last year, more than 17,000 tonnes of plastic waste material was generated, said Samajam general secretary N. Rajan.With an aim to promote and popularise responsible pilgrimage in the sacred grove of Sabarimala, the organisation has decided to launch a drive to sensitise pilgrims. “With the help of Guru Swamis, who lead the pilgrimage, we want to advise pilgrims to carry bags made of cloth while going to Sabarimala,” Mr. Rajan said.Meanwhile, efforts are also on to distribute leaflets at Ayyappa temples in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and eateries exclusively meant for devotees.
“We are using the places where ‘padi pujas’ are performed as a platform to spread message on preserving ecology at the hill shrine using jute or cloth bags,” Mr. Rajan said.