Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hindu Offerings

Here is an odd news item. One of the Hindu traditions is to throw the ashes of their dead into a river. In India there are several sacred rivers where this is allowed. There is no equivalent river in Canada but the Hindu community is making do with local rivers. These offerings are now showing up in the Credit River in Mississauga where there is a large Hindu community. A CBC radio reporter talked to the Minister for Governmental Services who said there is currently no law prohibiting this activity.

I have no data for the Don, but there is no reason why it wouldn't be used. As long as the ashes are free floating (not dumped in a plastic bag), there shouldn't be much ecological impact. Ashes are light enough so that they should remain suspended in the water until they reach the mouth of the river where low flows will allow suspended sediments to settle out of the water.

The mouth of the Don is currently the Keating Channel. Ashes would likely settle out there. The TRCA already dredges about 35,000 cubic metres from the channel every year. This material is then dumped in the Leslie Street Spit embayment.

Perhaps the Hindu community could be convinced to spread their ashes in the spit embayment which would just cut out the river middleman. Since any ashes put in the Don will end up here anyways it seems like a good compromise.


Anonymous said...

It's not so much the ashes, but the mess and litter left behind on the banks of the credit river.

Anonymous said...

We are having big problems here in NYC.
check out the Hindu button to see the beautiful ceremonies but thhe terrible mess left behind.