Ironically, holy river Yamuna, or Jamuna is the dirtiest river in India. The river which can provide moksh is fighting its own war of survival. This river which was deemed clear blue in 1909 has turned into a sewage loaded toxic stream.
Rising from the Yamunotri glacier at the height of 6387 meters in the Lower Himalayas, this river is the second largest tributary of the Ganges. It flows through the Indo-Gangetic plains, including the states of Haryana, New Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh.
This river had been declared ecologically dead for several years now. But the recent lockdown has brought a miraculous change in the river which has regained it’s clear blue color after decades.
What are the causes of pollution in the Yamuna and the steps implemented by the Government for its treatment?
Rapid high-density urbanization and industrialization is the cause behind INDIA the huge amount of pollutants that are dumped into the holy river.INDIA Sewage, toxic industrial waste, and agricultural waste including pesticide runoff are dumped into the river that pollutes the river. New Delhi, the capital of India owes maximum to the pollution because 58% of pollutants and waste of this city are dumped into the Yamuna.
800 million liters of untreated sewage along with 44 million liters of poisonous industrial waste are dumped into the river daily. This is the reason for the harmful toxic foams and the disgusting stench of the river within INDIA which humans were noticed praying in November 2019. Only 35% of the sewage dumped into the river is eventually treated. From research, it has been discovered that by the time the Yamuna flows through Agra it already has enough toxicity collected which results in 50 times more biochemical oxygen demand than the permissible limit. By the time the waster enters Uttar Pradesh, it is deemed untreatable. INDIA The waters from this polluted river is not only left unsuitable for drinking and irrigation, but it is also affecting the groundwater too.
Ministry of Environment and Forest implemented the Yamuna INDIA Action Plan (YAP) in as many as 12 cities of Haryana, 8 cities of UP, and New Delhi. The government has spent 1514.70 crores of rupees in YAP Phase 1 and 2 with not very distinct results insight.
Lockdown’s effect on Yamuna
But the impossible which the Government failed to achieve was achieved by a pandemic which led to nationwide lockdown since March 25th. Since then the industries were shut down which are one of the major sources of untreated sewage and chemical wastes. With human activities stopped, nature began its cleansing process and the Yamuna finally gained it’s clear blue color in New Delhi, something no one imagined could happen.
A monk by the Ghats in New Delhi told Reuter, “Ever since the INDIA lockdown, we can take Mother Yamuna’s water in our hands and offer it for prayer, as well as drink it.”
Sanjay Gir the elderly monk too explained the reason behind this to be the lack of pollutants dumped by industries into the river, due to the lockdown.
Although this miracle is widely appreciated, it wouldn’t be INDIA long before the industries resume their work and pollutes Yamuna once again.
Maybe this lockdown and pandemic has given us an opportunity to reflect upon our actions and modify it to be more environmentally friendly.