Ugly Reality of Yamuna – India’s Most Polluted River (In Pictures)

A human skull on the banks of river Yamuna in Wazirabad, New Delhi on May 5, 2013. According to some older sects of Hinduism, the human body is immersed in the river instead of burning it, and these toxic remains pollute the river for many years afterwards.

Hindus believe that one dip in the sacred River Yamuna frees one from the torments of death.  But the burden of the overgrowing population and unchecked dumping of sewage and industrial waste has rather turned it into a horrible scene.  Now, River Yamuna is seeking salvation from the tormenting pollution.

The Yamuna, also called Jammuna, is the second largest tributary river of the Ganges that flows through Indo-Gangetic Plains. It originates from the Yamunotri Glacier in the Himalayas and flows through Uttarakhand, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. The water is clear and blue until the River reaches Haryana. Thereafter, tons of untreated sewage, industrial waste, domestic waste, and dumped garbage turn it into one of the world’s most polluted rivers.

River Yamuna 1

Urbanization and industrialization has literally killed River Yamuna. New Delhi, that generates 1,900 million liters per day of sewage, dumps 58 percent of its waste into the Yamuna. Untreated waste that flows into it from several cities along its banks in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh is Yamuna’s biggest enemies.

In Uttar Pradesh, the river is almost invisible, covered with pollutants and foam. The government has spent Rs 1,514.70 crore under Yamuna Action Plan Phase-I and Phase-II for creation of new sewage treatment capacity of 942.25 million liters per day in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. However, the scenario doesn’t seem to have changed in 2015.

Yamuna RIver Pollution 2

According to a 2015 report,

The Yamuna, by the time it flows through Agra, has nearly 50 times more biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) than the permissible limit. The Central Water Commission (CWC) has declared that the river water at Agra is safe neither for irrigation nor for domestic use. Water in the river, now polluted beyond repair, an official said, is also contaminating groundwater.

Foam In Yamuna River 5


According to the Central Water Commission (CWC),

The current level of BOD in the Yamuna is 55 milligrams per litre (mg/L), which is enormously high as compared to the permissible limit of 2 mg/L. This contamination level is irreversible. Water is unusable, both for irrigation and drinking. In fact, polluted water from the Yamuna is also partially responsible for the contamination of groundwater in Agra, as the TDS (total dissolved salt) in water has jumped to almost 1500 mg/L from 500 mg/L, three times the permissible limit.

yamuna river mapDhanaura Escape (Black Line, it also carries effluents brought by Ditch drain) & Augmentation Canal (Blue Line) carry polluted and potable water in different directions, both ultimately reach Delhi

According to health experts,

Even the vegetables coming from neighboring towns like Ghaziabad and Faridabad – where farmers rely on polluted rivers for irrigation add to the water pollution-related complications for Delhiites. The drinking water that most Delhites get had been found to be contaminated with sewage water and could be harmful to health. A shocking 81 out of 116 samples of such water – it translates to almost 70 percent – supplied across the Capital by the DJB have failed a purity test conducted by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi in 2012.

Sewage flows into Yamuna

River Yamuna is now considered beyond redemption from pollution. The contamination has reached such a high level that it’s almost impossible to clean it. It’ll be a miracle if the Yamuna could be revived. Take a look at some of the pictures depicting the death of India’s most polluted river – Yamuna. Remember, almost every river in India is heading toward the same future as India is still not serious regarding prevention of dumping pollutants into its rivers.

black water near delhi

idol immersion in River Yamuna in Delhi

Yamuna after immersion of Ganesh idols on Ganesh Chaturthi

Polluted banks of the river Yamuna in New Delhi

Rag pickers search for valuables in the Yamuna River in New Delhi

A human skull on the banks of river Yamuna in Wazirabad, New Delhi on May 5, 2013. According to some older sects of Hinduism, the human body is immersed in the river instead of burning it, and these toxic remains pollute the river for many years afterwards.

A fisherman tries to catch fish in the dirty, black waters of the river Yamuna at the Okhla Barrage, New Delhi on September 14, 2013. Waste Water, poisonous chemicals, and toxic metals from 26 major sewers and industries are discharged into the river everyday, due to which a holy river has become the biggest drain of India. After the failure of Yamuna Action Plan 1 and 2, the government has invested approximately 1600 crores in Yamuna Action Plan 3 to clean the river.

untreated sewage being released into Yamuna near Wazirabad bridge barrage

Water pollution India Yamuna

Who killed river yamuna

Yamuna river in the Nigambodh Gath area in Old Delhi.

Yamuna river near Okhla bird sanctuary, New Delhi

Industrial waste with all toxic chemicals has caused the formation of foam over the Yamuna that completely covers it.

Foam In Yamuna River 2

Foam In Yamuna River 4

Foam In Yamuna River 6

Foam In Yamuna River 7

Foam In Yamuna River

People still bath in Yamuna, worship it and offer their daily prayers early morning. River Yamuna near New Delhi

river Yamuna

worship the Sun god Surya in the polluted waters of the river Yamuna

Yamuna River Pollution Near Delhi

Yamuna River pollution

Yamuna River

Image Credits: Daily Mail/ Hindustan Times/Sand DRP

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