INDIA. Delhi: River Yamuna, the second largest tributary of River Ganga and the longest tributary of India, originates from Yamunotri glacier in Uttarakhand. It flows across seven states and merges with the river Ganga at Sangam in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh.
Yamuna, the sacred river is worshipped by Hindus as ‘Goddess Yamuna’ and as per Hindu mythology it is the daughter of the God Sun and sister of the Yama the ‘God of Death’. People bathe in its sacred waters to get rid of sins and attain nirvana. The last rites of the dead are also performed on its banks.
The waters of Yamuna were pristine blue not so long ago, but today it is one of the most polluted rivers in the world. Even though River Yamuna, often called Delhi’s lifeline accounts for more than 70% of Delhi’s potable water supplies, it is dying today and is termed as a ‘Dying holy river’.
The river is home to turtles, different species of fish, crocodiles, and an abundance of aquatic plants and phytoplankton, but the 22-km stretch through Delhi has virtually no aquatic life.
There are various factors that are all responsible for the death of the River Yamuna in Delhi. A few of them are river-basin degradation, ecological pollution; solid and liquid waste pollution, and encroachment on riverbeds.
Main Sources of Pollution
- Domestic Sources
- Industrial heavy metal contamination
- Untreated Sewage
- Idol Immersion leading to increased toxicity
- Plastic Pollution
Concern expressed by the top court of India
Taking note of this serious ecological issue, The Supreme Court of India took suo motu cognizance of the rising pollution level in the Yamuna in Delhi on Wednesday,13 January 2021, and said that pollution-free water is a fundamental right that a welfare state is ‘bound to ensure’.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde issued notice to the ministry of the environment; the ministry of housing; governments of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Delhi after Delhi Jal Board complained of ammonia level in the water has gone up because of discharge of untreated wastewater by Haryana in the river.
The bench directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to prepare a report identifying municipalities along the stretch of the river which is yet to install Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs). “CPCB shall also submit a priority-wise list of municipalities, the river stretches adjacent to which have been found to be most polluted,” the bench, also comprising justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, said.