The Yamuna river, often referred as the lifeline of the national capital, is resembling more of a sewer nowadays while flowing through the city. The river flows for fifty two kilometers in Delhi and is flooded with all sorts of filth, including plastic waste.
Even the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had slammed the Delhi government three months ago regarding the situation of the river. “Yamuna in your territory has become a sewer line,” the green court had stated on March 8 while hearing a PIL on the water dispute between Delhi and Haryana.
A senior official in the flood department of the Delhi government, spoke on the condition of anonymity regarding this subject. He said that the Delhi government has spent more than Rs. 2000 crore on the Yamuna clean up project during the last two decades.
Surprisingly, this hasn’t led to any change in the river’s water quality. The official went on saying that the level of deadly fecal coliform bacteria (bacteria in human and animal feces) is the same as it was a decade ago.
“Dissolved oxygen (DO) which is important for any form of marine life to exist in the water, is almost negligible. Hence, calling it a dead river will not be wrong,” the official added.
Apart from the Delhi government, the Delhi Jal Board has also spent around Rs. 3000 crore for installing interceptors to divert the sewage of small drains to sewage treatment plants (STPs) operating at different areas. However, the project is yet to be completed.
As per water expert Faiyaz Khudsar who has been conducting research upon Yamuna water for several years, sewage is a major cause of pollution in Yamuna.
“Yamuna enters Delhi at Palla and moves onwards to Okhla. During this period, the water gets muddy but it’s not polluted. However, when it reaches Wazirabad from Okhla, it turns into a sewer,” Khudsar said.
Khudsar further added that sixteen drains are connected with the river and their sewage falls into it. Amongst them, the Najafgrah, supplementary and the Shadara drains are it's biggest sources of pollution.
On the other hand, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) which is directly responsible for cleaning of Yamuna claimed that it operates nearly 36 STPs at different locations apart from treating around 70 percent of sewage daily. As per the DJB’s report, the city generates around 700 mgd of sewage per day.
If experts are to be believed, then despite of tall claims made by the authorities, project Yamuna clean-up seems to be a wastage of public money.