Wednesday, Mar 29, 2023

Delhi Yamuna Pollution: After Chhath, Water Sprinkled On River To Remove Toxic Foam

Delhi Yamuna Pollution: After Chhath, Water Sprinkled On River To Remove Toxic Foam

Delhi Jal Board officials were seen sprinkling water on the froth that has collected on the surface of Yamuna River. Visuals of people celebrating Chhath puja by taking a bath in the hazardous river are also emerging.

A woman shifts fishes in the Yamuna river while toxic foam floats at Kalindi Kunj, in New Delhi. PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist

A day after the Delhi government deployed 15 boats in River Yamuna to remove froth at Kalindi Kunj, civic agencies on Wednesday installed bamboo nets and sprinkled water to dissipate froth. As all of this is reminiscent of the river's hazardous water quality, every measure seems to be failing.

Officials have admitted that the problem of frothing will continue until sewage treatment plants in Delhi are upgraded to meet the new standards.

A Delhi Jal Board official said directions have been issued to sprinkle water to dissipate the froth as "no other short-term measures would work". 

"Water sprinkling will break the froth. The air bubbles trapped in the froth will escape and the froth will dissipate," he said. Congress leader Srinivas BV tweeted the video of water being sprinkled on the froth and termed it as a 'ninja technique' of Kejriwal,

An official of the Irrigation and Flood Control Department said bamboo nets have been installed on the stretch at Kalindi Kunj to capture the froth.

These exercises will continue till effective action is ensured, the officials said.

The pollution in the Yamuna in Delhi is once again in focus as Chhath festivities are underway.

Early on Wednesday, a number of devotees had gathered at the Yamuna Ghat in Kalindi Kunj, downstream of the Okhla Barrage, but were dispersed by the police.

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority had earlier banned Chhath Puja celebrations on the banks of the Yamuna in view of the pandemic.

The city government has set up 800 makeshift ghats across Delhi for devotees to perform the rituals.

Vikas Rai, chairman of Chhath Puja Samiti, Kalindi Kunj, said the government wanted to "cover up its failure and that the devotees are not bothered about the froth in the river".

"Boats, nets and water sprinkling won't help. The froth will come back the minute you remove it. This is an eyewash so that the media doesn't criticise the government over the pollution," he said.

Facing criticism over the formation of froth in the Yamuna, the Delhi government had on Tuesday deployed 15 boats to remove the same.

The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) conceived the plan and implemented it with the help of the Irrigation and Flood Control Department and Revenue Department, officials said.

They said the idea entailed the deployment of boats parallel to each other in order to remove the froth using ropes.

An official, however, termed it a "temporary" measure. "The problem will persist till sewage treatment plants in Delhi are upgraded to meet the new standards. There is no immediate solution to it."

"The foam is just the manifestation of the water quality of the Yamuna and it is a long-term issue," he said.

According to experts, the primary reason behind the formation of foam in the Yamuna is high phosphate content in detergents used in dyeing industries, dhobi ghats and households in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

The poor quality of effluents discharged from Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) and Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) is another reason.

Waste water from authorised colonies and settlements containing high phosphate content reach the river through untapped drains. When water falls from a height at a barrage, the turbulence agitates the phosphoric compounds in the river which leads to the formation of froth.

Frothing in certain stretches of the river, such as near ITO and Okhla Barrage, has become an annual phenomenon in winters when the temperatures are low and flow in the river is less.

On Monday, pictures and videos showing devotees offering prayers in the Yamuna on the occasion of Chhath Puja with froth on the river surface had triggered a political slugfest between the ruling AAP and the BJP in Delhi.