Worsening position of Yamuna water revealed under RTI
It has come to light that in spite of the spate of programmes under the Yamuna Action Plans I and II, the contamination of the river has only worsened. Based on the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) survey findings from March 2012, it has been alleged that 2010 and 2012, the polluted stretch in the river has increased by 100 km.
The CPCB had claimed in its report “Status of Water Quality in India-2010”, that the polluted length of the river is about 500 km. However, the results from recent monitoring have indicated that the quality of water from Panipat downstream to Jukila is not fit as it does not meet the criteria for the “desired level” of purity. This distance where the river has been found to contain polluted water is 100 kms more than the previous estimate of 500 kms. The parameters measured were:-
- The dissolved oxygen (DO) levels have decreased in the river Yamuna from Wazirabad Barrage to Agra behind the Taj Mahal. The DO concentration in this stretch ranges between 0.0 to 3.7 mg/l, whereas the minimum should be 4.0 mg/l. DO is necessary to support aquatic life.
- The Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) levels between Panipat downstream to Agra downstream levels are around 4.99 mg/l as against the criteria of less than 3 mg/l and does not meet the criteria on account of discharge of partially treated and untreated municipal waste-water from drains.
- The Coliform bacteria count and the Ammonia levels are high between Nizamuddin Bridge and Agra downstream
Discharge of waste-water from towns and cities has been identified as a source of contamination, releasing coliform, which in turn reduces the DO levels. The CPCB has said this situation gets aggravated from Panipat downstream to Agra downstream.
Questions have been raised about the effectiveness of the almost 30 years of Ganga Action Plans (GAPs) and 20 years of Yamuna Action Plans (YAPs).