UP: Priest covers 'Shivling' with mask as air quality worsens in Varanasi

Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Nov 7 (ANI): As air quality worsens in the state, priests covered 'Shivling' with a mask to protect Lord Shiva from bad air at Tarkeshwar Mahadev Temple in Varanasi here on Thursday.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) peaked at 226 in the city today which falls under the poor category according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Alok Mishra, a devotee said, "The air is polluted in the city and to save 'Bhole Baba' from this poisonous air we have put on the mask. We believe if he is safe, we will also remain safe."

"We need to protect our gods from bad air quality as the level is its level is depleting day by day. Just like we make them wear sweaters in the winters and install air conditioners in the summer to provide more comfort, therefore to protect the gods from bad air quality we have put masks on idols to protect them from bad air quality," Sandeep Mishra, the priest told ANI.

He further said that the people in the city are facing a plethora of problems due to the increase in air pollution levels. Irritation in the eyes, breathlessness, and problems in breathing are some problems that he is facing due to bad air quality.

"The condition is so bad that there are no beds in the city hospital for medical treatment as so many people are facing medical problems due to pollution," he added.

He also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take stern action to combat the menace of air pollution and termed the air pollution. (ANI)