June 20, 2024

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In India, rivers used in religious ceremonies are covered with poisonous foam

In India, rivers used in religious ceremonies are covered with poisonous foam

A layer of poisonous foam covered parts of a sacred river near the capital India This Wednesday (10) while Hindus gathered on the beaches to celebrate a religious holiday and some devotees bathed in the waters.

White foam, a mixture of sewage and industrial waste, formed last week in parts of the Yamuna River – a tributary of the sacred Ganges – which flows some 1,376 kilometers south of the Himalayas through several states.

According to experts, the foam contains high levels of ammonia and phosphates, which can lead to respiratory and skin problems.

The arrival of this type of pollution coincided with the Chhath Puja, a festival dedicated to the sun god Lord Surya. Earlier this week, some Hindus were seen crossing the poisonous foam to bathe and pray in the river.

Devotee Devotee Gunjan Devi said on Tuesday (9) that she had no choice but to bathe in the contaminated water.

“The water is very dirty, but we don’t have a lot of options,” Reuters said. “It’s a ritual to bathe in a body of water, so we came here to bathe.”

According to the newspaper India’s confidence, 15 boats were sent by the government to remove the foam, but experts fear it has already caused significant damage.

“The river in the Delhi section is an ecologically dead river,” said Bhim Singh Rawat of the South Asian Network of Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP). “There are no freshwater fish or birds. This has been going on for years.”

Rice field farmers in Ahmedabad, India. / Photo: Reuters

polluted rivers of india

For decades, parts of the Yamuna River have been affected by dumping of toxic chemicals and untreated sewage.

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In several sections, the river looks opaque and muddy as plastic waste lines its banks.

The river is considered to be more polluted in the areas around Delhi due to the city’s dense population and high levels of litter.

Only 2% of the river’s length passes through the capital, but Delhi contributes about 76% of the river’s total pollution load, according to the government monitoring committee.

SANDRP’s Rawat said the polluted river is affecting people who live in several cities, including Faridabad, Noida and Agra. “Thousands of villagers get their irrigation water from the river, and they take buckets to the river to bathe and drink,” he said.

In 2017, a similar-looking foam appeared on Lake Farther in the south of Bangalore.
Strong winds carried the foamy chemical cocktail onto the roads.

In the same year, a lake in Bangalore caught fire, and experts believe it was due to traces of oil in the water.

*With information from Reuters

(This text is translated. To read the original text in English, click here)