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RIVER YAMUNA: LIFE LINE OF DELHI

Dr. Lalit Mohan


Executive Director
Society for Environment & Development

Water is the prime determinant of the sustainability of human being Jalati Jivayati Lokaniti!
Water in different forms is considered as Apodevatas in Vedic literature.

Since time

immemorial water is worshiped in India. It is one of the five elements that contribute the life
support system. Everything in human life is, in some way or the other, tried to water. The
reduction in availability of this resource in the past has led to the decline of major
civilizations in the past.
Water is the most abundant single substance in the biosphere being about 1,50,000,000 Km 3
in volume. Our earth is covered with 75% water, of which the oceans and seas hold 97%
which is salty. Another 2% is locked up in the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps and snow and
thereby unusable. Only 1% is found in rivers, lakes and underground reservoirs and can be
used by man.
It is widely felt by the people that water is a free gift of nature available in unlimited quantity.
It may have been so in the past, but the current situation is different, it has become a scarce
commodity today.
River Yamuna with a total length of around 1,370 kilometers (851 mi), is the largest tributary
of the Ganges River in northern India. Yamuna is considered the most sacred among all the
rivers as per Hindu mythology. Its source is at Yamunotri, in the Uttarakhand Himalaya, in
the Himalayan Mountains. It flows through the states of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh,
before merging with the Ganges at Allahabad. The cities of Delhi, Mathura and Agra lie on its
banks.

Yamuna is one of the most polluted rivers in the world, especially around Delhi which dumps
about 57% of its waste into the river. Delhi alone contributes around 3,296 million litres per
day of sewage in the river.

Water pollution is a severe environmental problem. Water pollution has traditionally been the
result of organic material deposited in river or lakes. It causes due to various wastes, which
find their way into the aquifer. About 70% of Indias surface waters is polluted. Out of some
3,119 towns and cities only 217 have partial or complete sewage treatment facilities.
Reasons & Effect of Water Pollution
Water-borne diseases such as typhoid, jaundice, cholera etc. account for 66% of all
illness in Delhi.
Industrial wastes, discharged into Yamuna have created the nightmare of paralysis and
other crippling diseases caused by slow pollution due to mercury and other metals.
The biggest problem with Yamunas water is that it varies greatly over both time and
space.
Due to Increase in Population.
Dumping of various pollutants in water bodies.
Siltation of bodies of water due to denudation
Over-exploitation of water resources.
Sources of Water Pollution in Yamuna River
1. Heavy Metals from industrial waste
2. Effluents commercial establishment
3. Domestic Waste & Sewage
4. Pesticides & Herbicides
5. Fertilizers & Detergents