Monday, April 25, 2011

Volunteers Embark On Earth Day Cleanups by Roger Clark -

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Volunteers all over the city spent Friday cleaning up recreational areas to mark Earth Day.

In Queens, the Hindu community took part in a cleanup of Jamaica Bay where offerings from religious ceremonies are creating environmental concerns.

The space, part of the National Park Service's gateway recreation area, is near the North Channel Bridge in Broad Channel.

"We come here and we make our offerings to the mother, because we believe the water for us is mother. She is a deity, what we worship. But at the same time we need to keep our mother clean, too. So after making our offerings into the water we should clean up after that," said Hindu Priest Chunelall Narine.

"We do promote a healthy environment, and although it's hard for some to understand the different situation that we're in, we do respect the community and we hope to clean up for Earth Day and to promote a good environment," said Clean-Up Volunteer Kamelia Kilawan.

For the past five years, park rangers have been working with the Hindu community to educate worshipers about the dangers posed to the environment and wildlife when leaving behind ritual items, like pieces of fruit and coconut shells.

"They can disrupt food chains and delay migration, they certainly can affect the water quality of Jamaica Bay," said Kathy Krause, Gateway National Recreation Area.

"It is our responsibility and duty to protect, to do whatever we can to protect the earth and keep the earth as clean as possible," said Hindu Community Leader Bhoj Dindiyal.

Other events across the city are focusing on green businesses and green cars.
Friday marks the 41st annual Earth Day celebration.