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Killing Yamuna with sheer apathy

The Supreme Court of India is rightly vexed with the issue of the severe pollution of the river Yamuna. The authorities seem to have let the country down for they have spent many hundreds of crores ostensibly for cleaning the river, but have little to show for their efforts. The Supreme Court has expressed serious concern over the worsening quality of water in the Yamuna due to high level of pollution, despite over Rs 1,800 crores been spent to contain pollution. It has noted that huge amount of public funds are spent each year without showing any improvement in water quality. For its part, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has pointed out that since March last year, the level of pollution was considerably high along the entire stretch of the river, with the content of coli form measuring at 17 billion per 100 ml at Delhi and Agra, as against the permissible limit of 5,000. It is a matter of huge distress that the Yamuna has become one of the most polluted rivers in the world, particularly near the city of Delhi, with over 50 per cent of the city’s waste dumped into it. Even the much-touted Yamuna Action Plan, set up with considerable foreign aid, has proved to be a dismal failure.
 
It is not as if reasons for this unimaginable pollution of this once pristine river are not clear. They are also related to the rapid population and industrial growth around the banks of the river. Paper industries, steel industries and leather factories along the banks of the river are among the chief polluting candidates that pour large amounts of industrial effluents into the river. This is in addition to the biological waste materials that find their way into the waters owing to the lack of sufficient sanitation facilities along the river. Not only is the grossly polluted water unfit for drinking purposes, it also causes serious diseases and infections in those who imbibe or come in contact with it. With many millions being dependent on the Yamuna waters, their lives and livelihood are affected because of the pollution. The situation is only likely to grow worse in the future unless firm steps are taken now. The government has hardly been serious about this project and its performance in curbing polluting industries along the banks, and in setting up other pollution control measures has been lacklustre.
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