Kaam Ki Baat Karona

Explained : Froth-Filled Yamuna, Chhath Puja celebrations & ‘Politics’

What makes a holy river earn the name Froth-Filled Yamuna? AAP taking measures amid criticism


After poor air quality post-Diwali, the Yamuna River was witnessing a thick layer of toxic foam. Like every year, the Yamuna is again layered with thick white toxic form amid Chhath puja. The sight of devotees taking dips in the froth-filled Yamuna water has raised concerns. The national capital’s water supply is also affected on account of the rise in ammonia levels in the Yamuna. Toxicity in the Yamuna had sought attention amid the ongoing 2021 United Nations climate change conference. Also known as COP26, the conference is scheduled to continue till November 12.

Delhi government adopts new measures amid criticism

The Delhi Government had deployed 15 boats to take off the froth in the Yamuna with the help of ropes. The government is also sprinkling water in the Yamuna to dissipate toxic foams. Even barricades were being placed in the Yamuna to stop the toxic foam from floating towards the Ghat. These measures were mocked online where users were saying that it is like ‘fighting fire with fire’.

Politics over froth

Although The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) prohibited Chhath Puja celebrations on the banks of the Yamuna this year, several devotees thronged the holy river. DDMA’s directive triggered a political blame game over this issue. BJP leaders accused Delhi’s AAP government of not allowing Chhath Puja on the Yamuna banks with a motive to hide the ‘pathetic’ state of the river.

On the other hand, AAP leaders have blamed the BJP governments in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana for the frothing. Vice-chairperson of Delhi Jal Board, Raghav Chadha said, “The water from UP and Haryana, merging in Okhla barrage has a lot of filth, industrial waste and untreated detergent, pollutants, and ammonia. It is because of this that froth is forming. This is not Delhi’s water pollution or industrial waste. It is a gift by the Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments to Delhi and Everyone knows this.”

He further added and raised questions on integrity of the UP and Haryana Government. Chadha said, “For years, we have written to the UP government and have held meetings, asking them to use irrigation technology and bicultural methods. How can they discharge industrial waste into the river? Do they want to pollute the river? However, the BJP governments of both UP and Haryana do not pay any attention to froth-filled Yamuna.”

What is froth?

Froth formation is a phenomenon that takes place in many lakes and streams. When Organic matter is decomposed in the water, it produces the Foam bubbles. Since the form bubbles are lighter than water, they float on the surface as a thin film.

Yamuna Pollution: We should learn from Britain’s Thames to clean the Yamuna in Delhi

What causes frothing in the Yamuna?

The hazardous foam floating on the surface of Yamuna River is the result of high phosphate content and rise in the levels of ammonia. These chemicals are caused by the discharge of industrial pollutants into the river, including detergents.

According to the experts, the presence of surfactants and phosphate in untreated sewage from Haryana, Delhi, and UP is the main reason.

The 22-kilometer stretch of the Yamuna between Okhla and Wazirabad accounts for 80% of the befoul load. Various Social activists said that the form is a result of chemical waste used to dye denim. These wastes were creating toxic forms after being dumped by illegal jeans-making units that are set up close to the riverbanks. Pollution from the sugar and paper industries in UP is also reportedly causing froth resulting in a froth-filled Yamuna.

What will happen after bathing in froth-filled Yamuna?

Short-term exposure can lead to allergies and skin irritation. If ingested, these chemicals may cause diseases and gastrointestinal problems like typhoid. Long-term exposure to heavy metals in industrial pollutants can cause hormonal imbalances and neurological issues.

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Ayushi Mittal

In her journey to become a journalist, Ayushi can inculcate your tale through her news writings. You may find her with a mike in protests, rallies, or in museums. So what's your story?
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