The Yamuna is the longest tributary of India. It is also the second-largest tributary of the Ganga River. The river originates from the Yamunotri glacier that is situated in Uttarakhand. The river Yamuna flows through seven states and later merges with Ganga. Their meeting place is called Sangam, which is at Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. However, the saddest part here is that it is the most polluted river in India. Despite 57 million people depending on its waters, the Yamuna is now referred to as Delhi’s dying hot river.
Religious significance of the most polluted river in India
The Hindus worship this river as ‘Goddess Yamuna.’ As per Hindu mythology, Yamuna is the daughter of the sun and the sister of the ‘God of Death,’ Yama. People consider its waters as sacred and take bathe there to wash off their sins. Moreover, the last rites of the dead are also performed at the banks of the river.
The river helps create the highly fertile alluvial Indo-Gangetic plain. As mentioned earlier, around 57 million people depend on the Yamuna. That is because it accounts for more than 70% of the water supply of Delhi.
Story behind the most polluted river in India
Long ago, the river Yamuna was pristine blue but now, the story has completely changed. Today, it is considered one of the most severely polluted rivers in the world. The river is mostly polluted downstream of Delhi, India’s national capital. The city dumps around 58% of its waste into the river. The most pollution in the Yamuna comes from Wazirabad. This is the place from where the river enters Delhi.
The main sources of pollution
Given below are the main sources of pollution in the river Yamuna:
- Domestic sources
At least 90% of domestic wastewater flows through the river in the city. This is as per the report submitted by Delhi Pollution Control Committee and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to the Yamuna Pollution Control Committee. This wastewater comes from household activities like laundry chemicals, content from detergents, phosphate compounds, etc.
- Industrial heavy metal contamination
The catchment area of the river in Delhi is highly urbanized. It is also networked to several drains. Shahdara and Najafgarh drains are the two major drains that discharge a whopping load of pollutants into the river Yamuna. Population growth and urbanization result in industrialization. It, in turn, poses a great threat of heavy metal pollution to the water bodies. The same is the case with this river.
- Untreated sewage
An amount of almost 800 million liters of untreated sewage is dumped into the river Yamuna every day. Moreover, almost 44 million liters of industry effluents are also discharged regularly into the same river waters. Moreover, treated sewage accounts for only 35% of the total wastes that are dumped into the waters.
- Immersion of idols
Idol immersion in the river has also led to increased toxicity in the same. Mostly, the immersion of idols made with chrome paints or cheap lead further pollutes the waters. The same goes for throwing puja articles like flowers, foam cut-outs, polythene bags, etc.