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YAMUNA: FROM THE HOLIEST TO THE DIRTIEST

For many theists in India, Yamuna river is as sacred as the mighty Ganges, but at the same time, it is also one of the most polluted rivers in the country as it has been rightly said that you won’t know it’s true worth until it’s gone.

A few months ago the river was totally dead due to untreated industrial wastes and other pollutants.

People driving across the bridges built over this river could be seen shutting their

windshields to keep out the unbearable stench. It would be extremely hard to believe that river Yamuna supported a whole lot of fishermen and their families and some still continue to live near her as they have nowhere else to shift to, and struggle to live a quality life.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board, the water quality of Yamuna River falls under the category “E” which makes it fit for recreation and industrial cooling only, while ruling out the possibility for under-water marine life. The pollution of the Yamuna River from domestic discharges from Delhi, Ghaziabad, Noida, Mathura, Agra etc has made the river water unfit for usage of any kind.

With the wake of this covid 19 pandemic which was followed by a lockdown, many industrial houses and units were forced to scale down their operations which decreased the load on the dead river but domestic sewage continued to flow unhindered through treatment plants which do not function efficiently due to too much volume.

With the gradual and much-needed rise in water levels of the Yamuna after recent showers, many pictures and videos going viral on social media platforms also showcase marine life and how migratory birds and creatures are returning back.

We find that the river is undergoing a resurrection while we are locked down in our houses, but what we’re hoping now is that this resurrection does not prove to be ephemeral as the industries are gradually gearing up to make for all the losses incurred. The Government will have to ensure that the pollution control policies are made stricter than ever if they wish to see the Yamuna river clean and flowing again.

There have been numerous efforts made by the government that have all gone in vain.

Since the past 22 years, an amount as high as Rs. 2000 crores has been invested to clarify the river’s water with little to show for it.

Now it has become imperative to yield a plan identifying viable strategies for bringing back the Yamuna River back to life. Efforts must be made to help this extremely polluted river, which is not only the major life-supporting artery of Delhi but also for many other cities in India. For effective execution of the policies and strategies, we need to develop awareness amongst the people through campaigns and plays, education, and improved watershed management.

It must be kept in mind that the songs of the river end not at the river banks but in the hearts of those who have loved her.