Yamuna is a major tributary of river Ganga. It is regarded by many people to be a sacred river which is why so many pilgrimage centres are located on its banks. The river supports the livelihoods of millions of people in its basin states. In order to fulfil the growing needs of drinking water and irrigation, several large dams and barrages have been built which divert large volumes of water from the river as it runs its course through the states of Uttarakhand, Haryana, the National Capital Territory of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. In Delhi the river is virtually reduced to a trickle and even remains completely dry in stretches for almost nine months of the year. Large volumes of treated /untreated sewage and industrial effluent are discharged into the river first from townships in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and later through 22 drains within Delhi.
Encroachments and rampant dumping of municipal and construction waste on the floodplains has stultified the river and impaired its natural ability to rejuvenate itself. This is a huge national loss as many economic, cultural, academic and recreational pursuits have been abandoned for decades even as encroachments keep expanding. Unknowingly citizens are subjected to the hazards of a polluted drainage system, a filthy river and the dangers of pollutants percolating into the ground water.
Courtesy: Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan and MC’s own pictures