It has been nearly an year when tremendously thick toxic froth welled up on Yamuna river so much so, that devotees were swallowed by half of their bodies by that foam. Such a scene was captured by a paparazzi whereby devotee was seen half-drowned while still immersed in the worship of Almighty. Though, to one, the brightness in foam appears outlandish and like a sweet vanilla ice-cream but considering the reasons in actuality behind such milky colour send shivers down our spines.
Just last year, when such foamy scenes went public, National Green Tribunal (NGT) appointed Delhi pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to dive deep into the river’s pool of causes and to suggest and initiate corrective measures. But to the grief of environmentalists, the situation still remains unchanged since last year and DPCC maintains the towering phosphate levels to be among the prime reasons behind froth formation which is attributed to widespread use of domestic detergents. As an official statement, an expert revealed, “There is no froth formation during normal flow, but if there is a change in elevation or new water is introduced, phosphate rises to the surface, mixes with the water and creates froth”.
Away from Delhi, even in Bengluru and Hyderabad, similar frothy scenes developed on the shore, but in Bengluru, authorities were able to quash such thickness allowing the froth to liquidate, while in Delhi, people hold multiple authorities accountable, yes multiple bodies to check the water flow in Yamuna. For instance, Okhla Barrage is controlled by UP irrigation department and no local body from city holds any power and thus, any responsibility over it.
To enlighten us about the possible reasons behind such foam, an official in Delhi Jal Board remarked, ”Foam is produced when organic matter decomposes and releases fatty acids. Synthetic detergents are not biodegradable, so even they form foam under favourable conditions. The organic matter comes mostly from decomposing algae and plants.”
In the same way, he continued to reveal, ”When water released from barrage is churned, froth formation starts. Froth formation is noticed after monsoon, but its visibility increases during winter due to low temperature”.
In similar event, unpleasant and stinking, untreated sewage causes further unrest too and on this aspect too, expert revealed, ”There are 18 drains that discharge about 760 MGD wastewater into the Yamuna. Of these, 610 MGD is from Delhi and 150 from Haryana and UP. In case of Delhi, 100 MGD untreated sewage comes from nonsewered and unauthorized areas. About 105 MGD untreated discharge reaches Okhla Barrage from Haryana through Najafgarh drain and 50 MGD from UP through Shahdara drain”.
To make matter worst for Delhiites, even the cut canal at Hindon river, acts like a major source of waste water from UP and joins the Okhla Barrage’s river upstream. Highlighting the aspect, an official revealed, “This canal carries pollutants from paper and sugar mills in Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and Meerut. They enter Hindon at Indira Kunj”.
In its reaction, the YMC discussed the sewage matter and also raked up the industrial effluents issue at length with UP government officials, which joins Yamuna through Shahadra drain and contains 15% of overall river pollutants.
Talking about oxygen level in the river, foamy matter highlights the lifelessness of river and that the level of dissolved oxygen stands at zero. Thinking about cleanliness and remedy, solutions are perceived with a long term approach, such as prevention of industrial effluents and sewage from colonies from making swift influx into river. Talking about short term measures, such include hyacinth removal in pondage of Okhla and relying upon treatment that is soaked with bioculture methods, just like what has been performed in Bellandur Lake in Bengluru.
Public Places Should Be Less Populated With Chhat Puja Advances:
As there has been a spike in number of Corona affected cases on everyday basis, gatherings to perform Chhath Puja have been barred by Delhi District Management Authority and people are asked to confine at homes. Speaking from the desk of BJP president at Delhi, Adesh Gupta opined that such is the major event among the Poorvanchalis and that it shouldn’t be ignored. He also demanded that the Delhi Government ought to make necessary arrangement for the hassle free performance of Puja. His arguments were, “Under the special cleanliness campaign, the BJP led municipal corporations have got the Chhat ghats cleaned. However, it is the responsibility of Delhi government to arrange for electricity and water and provide a disaster management team. The government should issue guidelines regarding Chhath in the same way as other festivals”.
In its clarification, the AAM party ruling Delhi hailed the decision to be in favour of public health but which is initiated by DDMA which is again led by LG Anil Baijal who reports to Union Government of India. Clearly, what exactly used to be a private limited religious event in family has now mushroomed into a mega community event as numerous families flock to Yamuna ghats to hail sun God. To their ease, makeshift waterbodies and water tanks are installed at India Gate.
As a latest development, The Delhi High Court crosses over to Delhi government court and supports the ban on Chhat Puja festivities at public venues in Delhi following rise in pandemic. In words of HC, “granting permission will act as super spreader of Covid-19”.
A bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramanium Prasad revealed, ”In today’s day and time, such a petition is belied by the ground reality”.
Just last week, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) had asked authorities to implement total ban on river banks, in temples and certain public venues.