Dip in frothy, toxic Yamuna hazardous: Experts

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Dip in frothy, toxic Yamuna hazardous: Experts

Yamuna river appears to be coated in a white substance that resembles floating ice. This isn't snow

Dip in frothy, toxic Yamuna hazardous: Experts

The first day of Chhath Puja began with worshippers taking a dip in the Yamuna river near Kalindi Kunj. Devotees were dissatisfied with the quality of the river's water, which had a thick layer of foam on the surface due to rising pollution levels in the national capital.

Credits: HT

The Yamuna river appears to be coated in a white substance that resembles floating ice. However, this isn't snow. As a result of water pollution, a layer of hazardous foam has formed on the river's surface.

The pollution is mainly due to discharges from enterprises and factories and a rise in the river's ammonia level to 3 parts per million. The dangerous foam seen floating in the Yamuna River was caused by increased ammonia levels and high phosphate content, both caused by industrial pollutant discharge into the river. Ammonia, a pollutant indicator in the river, was around 2.2 ppm (per million) on Saturday and Sunday.

Cityspidey talked to environmentalist Akash Verma to know how this toxic foam on the Yamuna river affects the environment. He stated "The toxic foam is not only a public nuisance and a health hazard for people, but it also negatively impacts animals that depend on the Yamuna, including a large number fish, amphibian and birds species. There are about forty industrial units in Delhi directly discharging effluents into the Yamuna. This industrial waste, along with treated and untreated sewage, contains large amounts of chemical detergents that mix with the water and produce the toxic foam".

Credits: IndiaLegal

Mr Verma further added "the water and the foam can contain high concentrations of ammonia, pesticides, phosphates, heavy metals such as Cadmium and Chromium along with harmful pathogens. Physical contact can result in skin and eye irritation. Swallowing even small amounts of water can lead to serious diseases of the digestive system, and long term exposure can increase the chances of cancer."

For the larger public, the foam may blow out to roads and hinder traffic, like what happened in Bellandur lake in Bengaluru. Furthermore, the same chemicals that produce the toxic foam tend to seep into the groundwater and make their way into the food we eat.

“Frothy Yamuna is the symptom of a very sick river.  Its impact is on River's aquatic biodiversity as well as on its riparian life including farming that's carried out on its floodplains. The worst is that this toxic water shall percolate down into the aquifers & contaminate the groundwater. In short, sick Yamuna is bad news for itself and the city.” said Mr Manoj Misra, Convener, Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan.