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to clean the river, the pollution levels have only worsened. In its book Sewage Canal: How to Clean the Yamuna, published in 2007, the Centre for Science and Environment reported that the Delhi stretch of the river is not only dead but had an overload of coliform contamination. Two years later, the pollution data shows no respite to the river. The 22-km stretch of the Yamuna, which is barely 2 per cent of the length of the river basin, continues to contribute over 80 per cent of the pollution load in the entire stretch of the river. There is also no water in the river for virtually nine months. Delhi, impounds water at the barrage constructed at Wazirabad where the river enters Delhi. What flows in the river subsequently is only sewage and waste from Delhi’s 22 drains. In other words, the river ceases to exist at Wazirabad. (See Map) This also means that there is just no water available to dilute the waste. The issue of a basic minimum flow in the river has been discussed time and again, but with water becoming more and more scare and contested, Delhi’s upstream neighbours are reluctant to release water. Delhi itself is water greedy and sucks up each drop that is released as its share. The river is then reduced to a drain for the filth and waste of the city’s inhabitants. In 2005, YAP II at an estimated cost of Rs 380 crore was sanctioned for Delhi. The plan was to rehabilitate some 30.2 kilometers of defunct sewers by 2008. About 50 per cent of the fund for Delhi, was to be spent on this. This works out to Rs 5.88 crore per km of sewers rehabilitated. In 2006-2007 Delhi Jal Board introduced its pet interceptor plan— to lay over 60 kilometers of sewers along Najafgarh, Supplementary and Shahdara drains. In the process of giving shape to the massive hardware programme nothing concrete was done to arrest pollution in the river. Today, as the data of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) t e pollution levels have only worsened. The CPCB h monitors the river at upstream of the Wazirabad barrage, at Nizamuddin (midstream) and downstream of Okhla barrage (after meeting the Shahdara drain). It is clear that the Delhi Jal Board has failed to meet the directives and deadlines of the Supreme Court order in the “and quiet flows mailee Yamuna” in WP[C] 725/1994. The Court ordered the DJB to restore the dissolved oxygen levels to 4 mg/l in the river so that it can be used atleast for bathing purposes.
Centre for Science and Environment, May 2009
al.Map: From river to sewage canal Source: Sunita Narain et. New Delhi Centre for Science and Environment. Sewage Canal: How to clean the Yamuna. 2007. Centre for Science and Environment. May 2009 2 .
Pollution trends: The following section analyses the pollution trends at three locations in the river Palla (upstream). the DO levels at Nizamuddin (midstream) rose to 4 mg/l (October 2005) where as in 2007 observed levels were 2. But what is worrying is the fact that even during monsoon. Here year 2005 emerges as a very important phase—it is from here on that the BOD levels have actually started to increase. The river recorded high levels of dissolved oxygen before it enters the city at Palla (upstream point)—the average DO level was almost 8 mg/l during 2008. During 2005 during monsoon. (see Graph: DO levels in Yamuna 2002-2008) Graph 1: DO levels in Yamuna during 2002-2008 (River continues to remain dead) Yamuna at palla 14 Yamuna river at Nizamuddin Yamuna river at Okhla after meeeting Shahdara Drain Maximum permissible limit for bathing 12 10 8 mg/l 6 4 2 0 Apr-02 Oct-02 Apr-03 Oct-03 Apr-04 Oct-04 Apr-05 Oct-05 Apr-06 Oct-06 Apr-07 Oct-07 Jan-02 Jan-03 Jan-04 Jan-05 Jan-06 Jan-07 Jan-08 Apr-08 Jul-02 Jul-03 Jul-04 Jul-05 Jul-06 Jul-07 Source: Compiled from the water quality monitoring reports of CPCB during 2002-2008 BOD: Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) is an indicator of organic pollution. The maximum permissible level of BOD for bathing is 3 mg/l. The following chart establishes a clear trend in the fluctuations the annual average BOD levels. the river is not able to rejuvenate it self. This has increased to 39 and 59 mg/l respectively the first six months of 2008. This had been the case for many years. Graph indicates that during 2002-2005. Nizamuddin (midstream) and Okhla after meeting Shahdara drain (downstream) Dissolved Oxygen (DO): Once the river flows past the city. (see Graph 2: average BOD levels in Yamuna during 2002-2008) Centre for Science and Environment. the average BOD levels declined and since then started increasing. The average BOD levels reported by the CPCB during 2005 was 23 and 32 mg/l respectively at midstream and downstream. there is no oxygen present in the river.1 mg/l (August 2007). May 2009 3 .
throughout the year the river is unfit for any human purpose.Graph 2: BOD levels in Yamuna Yamuna at palla Yamuna river at Nizamuddin 60 50 46 mg/l 40 35 30 26 20 10 0 2 2002 2003 22 Maximum permissible for bathing 70 Yamuna river at Okhla after meeeting Shahdara Drain Initiation of YAP II Standard value 59 47 39 32 23 24 3. While the river is almost fit for drinking after treatment at upstream. (Graph 3: BOD in the river during 2007-2008) Graph3: BOD in the river during 2007-2008 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Apr07 May07 Jun07 Jul-07 Aug07 Sep07 Oct07 Nov07 Dec07 Jan08 Feb08 Mar08 Apr08 May08 Jun08 Yamuna at palla Yamuna river at Nizamuddin Yamuna river at Okhla after meeeting Shahdara Drain Standard value June 2007 Source: Compiled from the water quality monitoring reports of CPCB during 2002-2008 Centre for Science and Environment. It could also be seen that the BOD levels during summer months (May & June) of 2008 were higher than the corresponding values for the previous year. May 2009 4 . As a matter of fact.25 1 2005 2 2008 (till june) June 2008 2 2007 Maximum permissible for bathing 3 mg/l Source: Compiled from the water quality monitoring reports of CPCB during 2002-2008 The graph below presents the BOD levels in the Yamuna during April 2007-June 2008. the scenario is really bad as it flows through the city.
The BOD load which was 117 tonnes per day (tpd) in 1980 increased to 270 tpd in 2008 – an increase which does not support the huge investments made in this stretch.BOD load: An analysis of the BOD load (obtained by multiplying the volume of wastewater by the BOD concentrations) clearly indicates that nothing has changed in terms of pollution load in the river Yamuna. May 2009 5 . though ironic. Centre for Science and Environment. The BOD load increased from 117 tonnes per day in 1983 to 270 in 2008. the pollution load in the river has only gone up. to note that the increase in the BOD load had been proportional to the investments made. With time and investment. National River Conservation Directorate and Delhi Jal Board It is also interesting. (Graph 3: BOD load in the Yamuna 1983-2008) Graph 4: BOD load in the Yamuna 1983-2008 BOD Load (T/D) 260 250 216 276 180 YAP II YAP I 50 1990 1991 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2004 2005 2008 270 300 200 tonnes per day 165 132 150 117 100 0 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 123 149 Source: Compiled from the water quality monitoring reports of CPCB.
A look at the bacteriological contamination or high coliform count of the water confirms this. the total coliform count increases so much that it is difficult to count the zeroes. (see graph 6. indicates that the total coliform levels at Palla (upstream Delhi) were in the range of 32 to 1000 times higher than the maximum permissible level of 500 mpn/100 ml specified for bathing purposes.Graph 5: Comparison of investments and pollution load in Yamuna 6000 Estimated cost BOD load (T/day) 4000 Rs Crore 130 2000 270 5680 300 BOD load in tonnes per day 250 200 150 100 50 20 0 YAP phase I (July 93) 167 YAP II (20052009) & interceptor plan (2009-12) YAP extended phase (May 2001) 0 Note: 270 tonnes per day corresponds to Year 2008. Corresponding values during 2007 were 5 million—a clear indication of an increase in untreated waste flowing downstream. At both upstream and downstream. The scenario becomes worse as the river traverses through the city. By the time the river is midway through Delhi. Delhi Jal Board (See annexure 1: Month wise records of the BOD in the Yamuna during 2002-2008) Coliform count There is no doubt that the river is a cesspool for Delhi’s waste. Data for the period January-June 2008. It is this water that is treated and supplied to Delhi. National River Conservation Directorate 2. Source: 1. During June 2008. May 2009 6 . In November 2007.000 times higher than the maximum levels. at Okhla downstream the coliform levels were 640. also see annexure: Coliform levels in the Yamuna 2002-2008) Centre for Science and Environment. Central Pollution Control Board 3. the coliform counts have been increasing. the total coliform levels were 103 million mpn/100ml respectively at Okhla downstream.
Graph 6: No respite—coliform levels run into millions in the Delhi stretch of Yamuna 1000000 Number of times higher than permissible level for bathing 500 mpn/100 ml 100000 10000 1000 100 10 1 Yamuna at palla Yamuna river at Nizamuddin Yamuna river at Okhla after meeeting Shahdara Drain May-07 May-08 Feb-07 Feb-08 Mar-07 Sep-07 Dec-07 Nov-07 Aug-07 Mar-08 Jan-07 Jan-08 Apr-07 Jul-07 Oct-07 Jun-07 Apr-08 Source: Compiled from the water quality monitoring reports of CPCB Annexures Annexure 1: Month wise records of the BOD in the Yamuna during 2002-2008 Yamuna at palla 160 Yamuna river at Nizamuddin 140 120 100 mg/l 80 60 40 20 0 Jul-02 Jul-03 Jul-04 Jul-05 Jul-06 Jan-02 Jan-03 Jan-04 Jan-05 Jan-06 Jan-07 Jul-07 Jan-08 Yamuna river at Okhla after meeeting Shahdara Drain Standard value Source: Compiled from the water quality monitoring reports of CPCB Centre for Science and Environment. May 2009 Jun-08 7 .
Annexure 2: Coliform levels in the Yamuna 2002-2008 Yamuna at palla 10000000000 1000000000 100000000 10000000 MPN/100 ml 1000000 100000 10000 1000 100 10 1 Jan-03 Jan-04 Yamuna river at Nizamuddin Yamuna river at Okhla after meeeting Shahdara Drain Maximum Mximum permissible for bathing 500 mpn/100 ml Jan-05 Jan-06 Jan-07 Source: Compiled from the water quality monitoring reports of CPCB Centre for Science and Environment. May 2009 Jan-08 Jul-02 Jul-03 Jul-04 Jul-05 Jul-06 Jul-07 8 .
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