Today I will tell you about pollution in river Yamuna of India and its causes.
About 57 million people depend on Yamuna waters. With an annual flow of about 10,000 cubic metres (cum) and usage of 4,400 cum (of which irrigation constitutes 96 per cent), the river accounts for more than 70 per cent of Delhi’s water supplies. Available water treatment facilities are not capable of removing the pesticide traces. Waterworks laboratories cannot even detect them. Worse, Yamuna leaves Delhi as a sewer, laden with the city’s biological and chemical wastes. Downstream, at Agra, this becomes the main municipal drinking water source. Here too, existing treatment facilities are no match for the poisons. Thus, consumers in Delhi and Agra ingest unknown amounts of toxic pesticide residues each time they drink water. Facts about pollution of river Yamuna
Causes of pollution Delhi generates 1,900 million litre per day (mld) of sewage. wastewater Thus, 630 mld of untreated and a significant amount of partially treated sewage enter the river every day. In summer months especially, the only flow downstream of Wazirabad is of industrial and sewage effluents. From the Okhla barrage, which is the exit point for the river in Delhi, the Agra canal branches out from Yamuna. During the dry months, almost no water is released from this barrage to downstream Yamuna. Instead, discharges from the Shahadara drain join the river downstream of the barrage, bringing effluents from east Delhi and Noida into the river.
Other causes of pollution
Haryana’s vast agricultural fields are also significant contributors to Yamuna river’s pollution. The consumption of pesticides in Haryana in the years 1995-96 was to the tune of 5,100 t. Out of this, benzene hexachlorides (BHC) accounted for 600.24 t, malathion 831.48 t and endosulphan, 263.16 t. The state department of agriculture estimates that 12.5 per cent of the Yamuna basin has forest cover, 27.5 is wastelands, 53 per cent is agricultural land; the rest are villages, towns, cities and roads. There are plans to bring 27.5 per cent more under agriculture: this means more abstraction from the river and also greater use and subsequent runoff of fertilisers and pesticides.
What can be done?
Water treatment technologies in practice in the West are expensive, something which India can ill-afford.
The conventional water treatment processes, based on chemical coagulation and filtration or biological slow sand filtration, have little capacity to remove water-soluble pesticides.
Solutions to problem
According to Western researchers the best way to deal the problem is to-
switch to organic or biological farming methods
curtail the use of pesticides and fertilisers.
persuade polluting farmers to use pesticides in such a manner that it does not enter surface water.