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The Yamuna

River Yamuna is fifth longest river of India. For past many centuries the river has been integral part of Indian culture. It has been sustaining means of livelihoods to millions. Many, in pursuit of spiritual inspiration venerate it with great hope. But at present, the river is more in news for its highly polluted state.

Yamuna River is largest tributary of Ganga River
Yamuna is another sacred river of India that origins from Yamunotri Glacier at height 6,387 metres, on the south western slopes of Banderpooch peak, in the Lower Himalayas in Uttarakhand. From there it travels a total length of 1,376 kilometers and has a drainage system of 366,223 kmA?, 40.2% of the entire Ganga Basin, before merging with the Ganga at Triveni Sangam or Prayag at Allahabad.
From Uttarakhand, Yamuna river flows for some 200 kilometers in Lower Himalayas and Shivalik Ranges. Its largest tributary Tons River flows through Garhwal region in Uttarakhand, and meets Yamuna near Dehradun. The other rivers such as Giri, Rishi Ganga, Kunta, Hanuman Ganga and Bata tributaries meet Yamuna, before it descends on to the plains of Doon Valley, at Dak Pathar near Dehradun. Further down, Yamuna is met by the Assan River, lies the Assan barrage, which hosts a Bird Sanctuary as well. After passing Paonta Sahib, it reaches Tajewala in Yamuna Nagar district, of Haryana, where a dam built in 1873, is the originating place of two important canals, the Western Yamuna Canal and Eastern Yamuna Canal, which irrigate the states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The Western Yamuna Canal (WYC) crosses Yamuna Nagar, Karnal and Panipat before reaching the Haiderpur treatment plant, which supplies part of municipal water supply to Delhi, further it also receives waste water from Yamuna Nagar and Panipat cities. Yamuna is replenished again after this by seasonal streams and groundwater accrual, in fact during the dry season, it remains dry in many stretches from Tajewala till Delhi, where it enters near Palla village after traversing 224 km. Along with Ganga to which run almost parallel after it touches the Indo-Gangetic plain and creates the Ganga-Yamuna Doab region. From Delhi onwards Yamuna gets polluted due to discharge of waste water through 15 drains between Wazirabad barrage and Okhla barrage renders the river severely polluted after Wazirabad in Delhi Contents Tributaries of Yamuna Betwa River Sindh River Hindon River Chambal River.

The water ofA�YamunaA�is of “reasonably good quality” through its length from Yamunotri in the Himalayas to Wazirabad in Delhi, about 375 kilometres (233 mi), where the discharge of waste water through 15 drains between Wazirabad barrage and Okhla barrage renders theA�riverA�severelyA�pollutedA�after Wazirabad.

Hindus believe that one dip in the sacredA�River YamunaA�frees one from the torments of death.A� But burden of overgrowing population and unchecked dumping of sewage and industrial waste has rather turned it into a horrible scene.A� Now, River Yamuna is seeking salvation from tormenting pollution. The Yamuna, also called Jamuna, is the second largest tributary river of the Ganges that flows through Indo-Gangetic Plains. It originates from the Yamunotri Glacier in Himalayas and flows through Uttarakhand, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. The water is clear and blue until the River reaches Haryana. Thereafter, tons of untreated sewage, industrial waste, domestic waste, and dumped garbage turn it into one of theA�worlda��s most polluted rivers.

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Hindus believe that one dip in the sacredA�River YamunaA�frees one from the torments of death.A� But burden of overgrowing population and unchecked dumping of sewage and industrial waste has rather turned it into a horrible scene.A� Now, River Yamuna is seeking salvation from tormenting pollution. The Yamuna, also called Jammuna, is the second largest tributary river of the Ganges that flows through Indo-Gangetic Plains. It originates from the Yamunotri Glacier in Himalayas and flows through Uttarakhand, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. The water is clear and blue until the River reaches Haryana. Thereafter, tons of untreated sewage, industrial waste, domestic waste, and dumped garbage turn it into one of theA�worlda��s most polluted rivers.

Urbanization and industrialization has literally killed River Yamuna.A�New Delhi, that generates 1,900 million liters per day of sewage, dumps 58 percent of its waste into Yamuna. Untreated waste that flows into it from several cities along its banks in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh is Yamunaa��s biggest enemies.

In Uttar Pradesh, the river is almost invisible, covered with pollutants and foam. The government has spent Rs 1,514.70 crore underA�Yamuna Action PlanA�Phase-I and Phase-II for creation of new sewage treatment capacity of 942.25 million liters per day in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. However, the scenario doesna��t seem to haveA�changed in 2015.

 

 

 

According to aA�2015 report,

a�?The Yamuna, by the time it flows through Agra, has nearly 50 times more biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) than the permissible limit. The Central Water Commission (CWC) has declared that the river water at Agra is safe neither for irrigation nor for domestic use. Water in the river, now polluted beyond repair, an official said, is also contaminating ground water.a�?

 

Hindus believe that one dip in the sacredA�River YamunaA�frees one from the torments of death.A� But burden of overgrowing population and unchecked dumping of sewage and industrial waste has rather turned it into a horrible scene.A� Now, River Yamuna is seeking salvation from tormenting pollution. The Yamuna, also called Jammuna, is the second largest tributary river of the Ganges that flows through Indo-Gangetic Plains. It originates from the Yamunotri Glacier in Himalayas and flows through Uttarakhand, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. The water is clear and blue until the River reaches Haryana. Thereafter, tons of untreated sewage, industrial waste, domestic waste, and dumped garbage turn it into one of theA�worlda��s most polluted rivers.

Urbanization and industrialization has literally killed River Yamuna.A�New Delhi, that generates 1,900 million liters per day of sewage, dumps 58 percent of its waste into Yamuna. Untreated waste that flows into it from several cities along its banks in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh is Yamunaa��s biggest enemies.

In Uttar Pradesh, the river is almost invisible, covered with pollutants and foam. The government has spent Rs 1,514.70 crore underA�Yamuna Action PlanA�Phase-I and Phase-II for creation of new sewage treatment capacity of 942.25 million liters per day in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. However, the scenario doesna��t seem to haveA�changed in 2015.

 

According to the Central Water Commission (CWC),

a�?The current level of BOD in Yamuna is 55 milligram per litre (mg/L), which is enormously high as compared to the permissible limit of 2 mg/L. This contamination level is irreversible. Water is unusable, both for irrigation and drinking. In fact, polluted water from the Yamuna is also partially responsible for the contamination of ground water in Agra, as the TDS (total dissolved salt) in water has jumped to almost 1500 mg/L from 500 mg/L, three times the permissible limit.a�?

 

 

According toA�health experts,

a�?Even the vegetables coming from neighbouring towns like Ghaziabad and Faridabad a�� where farmers rely on polluted rivers for irrigation add to the water pollution related complications for Delhiites. The drinking water that most Delhites get had been found to be contaminated with sewage water and could be harmful to health. A shocking 81 out of 116 samples of such water a�� it translates to almost 70 per cent a�� supplied across the Capital by the DJB have failed a purity test conducted by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi in 2012.a�?

Estimated Sewage Generation From 15 Cities Along Yamuna RiverA�

 

S. No. City/UT No. of STP Water Supply (MLD) Sewage Generation (MLD) Sewage Treatment Capacity (MLD)
1 Yamuna Nagar 2 205 164 35
2 Jagadhri 16.4 13.1
3 Karnal 2 47.2 37.8 48
4 Panipat 2 44 35.2 45
5 Sonipat 1 35 28 30
6 Gurgaon 3 250 200 145
7 Delhi 17 4346 3800 2603
8 Noida 2 235 188 58
9 Faridabad 3 205 164 115
10 Palwal 2 16.3 13 9
11 Vrindavan 1 7.9 6.3 4.5
12 Mathura 2 34 27.2 27
13 Agra 5 325.5 260.4 144.3
14 Firozabad 57.4 46
15 Etawah 1 48.1 38.4 10
Total 43 5872.8 5021.4 3273.0

 

(Source: CPCB)

 

 

 

River Yamuna, the reason for Delhi’s existence, has suffered heavily from pollution in the last few decades. The 20 kilometres stretch of river in the capital has one of the highest levels of industrial pollution in the country. As per a recent report published online, the level of industrial pollution in Yamuna is nearly 13 times more than the permissible limit.

Here are some alarming facts about the rising level of pollution in Yamuna:

  • Wazirabad is the point where Yamuna enters the city. At this point, its dissolved oxygen (DO) content is 7.5 milligrammes per litre. At its point of exit from city limits, the DO level is only 1.3 mg/l
  • Data collected over a 10-year period by the Central Water Commission through its 371 monitoring stations across the country shows that Yamuna has the highest level of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) concentration when it passes through Delhi
  • Various tests found out that when Yamuna leaves Delhi and is joined by other smaller rivers, the pollution level starts dropping
  • In 2007, roughly half of all the city’s raw sewage went straight into the river
  • A total of 55 percent of the city’s 15 million people are connected to the city’s sewer system and its treatment plants, but because of corrosion and clogging in the system, many treatment plants do not run at full capacity. Because of this, waste from 1500 unplanned neighborhoods runs straight into the river
  • A total of 18 drains of Delhi, whose water flows into the Yamuna, create 80 percent pollution in the river, Water Resources and River Development Minister, Uma Bharti said, recently, as she announced that an ambitious project to clear Yamuna will begin in April 2016.

 

River pollution adversely affects the health and life of man, animals and plants alike. Polluted water is also harmful for agriculture as it adversely affects the crops and the soil fertility.

Consumption of polluted water is a major cause of ill health in India. Polluted water causes some of the deadly diseases like cholera, dysentery, diarrhea, tuberculosis, jaundice, etc. About 80 per cent of stomach diseases in India are caused by polluted water. All organic materials can be broken down or decomposed by microbial and other biological activity (biodegradation). Organic and some of the inorganic compounds exhibit a biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) because oxygen is used in the degradation process.

Oxygen is a basic requirement of almost all aquatic life. Aquatic life is adversely affected if sufficient oxygen is not available in the water. Typical sources of organic pollution are sewage from domestic and animal sources, industrial wastes from food processing, paper mills, tanneries, distilleries, sugar and other agro based industries.

Water supports aquatic life because of the presence of nutrients in it. Here the primary focus is on fertilizing chemicals such as nitrates and phosphates. Although these are important for plant growth, too much of nutrients encourage the overabundance of plant life and can result in environmental damage called a�?eutrophicationa��.

This can occur at both microscopic level in the form of algae and macroscopic level in the form of aquatic weeds. Nitrates and phosphates are contributed by sewage, agricultural run-off and run-off from un-sewered residential areas.

River pollution is a big menace to the economy, the environment and, of course, human health nd the other living organisms. It is a big contributor to a number of health problems and disorders in humans. River pollution also affects aquatic life, leading to growth of unhealthy fish unsuitable for human consumption and also mass fish death. Polluted river waters have affected the lives of animals and birds as well, sometimes threatening their very existence. In the long term, continuous river pollution can lead to loss of biodiversity and even extinction of some species and can disrupt the ecosystem as a whole.

We should never forget how much we are dependent on our rivers. It is the river systems in our country which provide us with potable water, irrigation, electricity, transportation and also they are a great source of livelihood for a large majority of people in the country. So we cannot ignore our rivers and let them die.

The Government is already splurging massive amounts of money for the last so many years in the name of preventing and reducing river pollution. No change. And there wona��t be any, either. A�Meaningful action may bear fruit. The A�readymadeA�programmes of setting upA�effluent treatment plants and sewage treatment plants to clean up industrial wastes and the sewage and then dump the waste water into the rivers are, as usual, creations of extraneous intentions.

Ita�� easy to lecture that the farmers should adopt organic methods of farming, thereby reducing chemical pollution of rivers. We have heard enough. So also there is demand that religious practices should be banned on river banks. Besides, that there should not be any dhobi ghats. Proper drainage and sewerage systems that will not allow the river water to get mixed with polluted water should be set up, it is always argued.

Often it is also heard that we as citizens of the country are equally responsible A�- A�But collective responsibility is virtual! It is claimed that we can promote communitiesa�� involvement in cleaning up of local river and water bodies a�� A�Then why it has not been done? We should raise the awareness among the people on the causes and effects of river pollution by organising awareness programmes, meetings and distribution of literature on river pollution and its dangers a�� But who doesna��t know pollution is bad!

Instead of advising and suggesting steps to reduce river pollution, could the people who preach stand up and show the way, by example, a small instance, a small acta��

 

 

 

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