Gallery: Religious Rituals Conducted in Jamaica Bay Detrimental to Natu...

To New Yorkers, the Jamaica Bay is hardly seen as sacred, but for the growing Hindu community in Richmond Hill, Queens, the body of water in the Gateway National Recreation Area has become a stand-in Ganges River for ceremonial offerings. Over the past ten years, as the Hindu population has grown, so has the amount of ritual debris in the bay. Park rangers have found everything from coconuts and saris to coins and food floating on the water. But unlike the Ganges River, which flows freely, the Jamaica Bay has an enclosed shore, and the debris stays in the water or washes ashore as litter, which has caused a clash between the Hindu community and the park. Today, leaders from the groups joined together for the “Leave No Trace” campaign, a community effort to clean the waters of Jamaica Bay, hoping to spread awareness about ecological preservation and education.

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