|Yamuna, 2018.03.16 (LAHT) As environmentalists across the world rallied on Wednesday to mark the International Day of Action for Rivers and demand better policies and greater awareness on the need to protect rivers, India’s Yamuna river remains choked with pollution caused by human waste, industrial runoff and religious paraphernalia.
A 2016 study revealed the Yamuna was dying despite the millions of dollars that have been spent to resuscitate it, and its waters remain toxic and unfit for human consumption.“Even expensive water treatment technologies are incapable of treating the polluted river water. And, the conventional water processes based on chemical filtration and biological treatment are not suitable for removing the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS),” the study, published in International Journal of Engineering Sciences & Research Technology, said.
Yamuna, the largest tributary of the river Ganges, is, however, the lifeblood of approximately 60.3 million Indians, who depend on the river for various basic needs and religious rituals, as the Yamuna is more than just a mere waterway, but a part of the seven holy rivers – Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaveri – and is worshipped across the country.
As part of these rituals, all kinds of non-soluble waste items are thrown into these waters, including coins, human hair, flowers, etc. Religious paraphernalia, including idol immersions as part of important festivals like Durga Puja or Ganesh Chaturthi, add to the river’s woes.
In 2013, the Indian government made it mandatory that during the immersion of Durga idols, insoluble materials should be thrown in separate enclosures. It also prohibited the immersion of idols made from non-biodegradable material, however, local authorities are struggling to enforce these regulations.
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