From a time when I was attending meetings at Delhi Jal Board to develop a campaign to raise awareness about keeping Yamuna clean – an awareness drive for the citizens not to throw their puja samagri into the river, I realised the sheer facetiousness of the whole effort.
There are 22 drains that dump untreated sewage into the river. 40% of the installed sewage treatment capacity of the whole of India is available in Delhi. Yet, this does not work to capacity. At that time there were varying figures of capacity utilisation – 30%, 40% – nothing was definite. And this is not unique to Delhi. You must have heard of the recent outbreak of cholera in Shimla – it was found that the sewage treatment plants were not working at all! And all the untreated sewage was being dumped straight into the stream that is their water source! In Agra as well, some 25 sewage drains empty out into the Yamuna.
Back to Delhi, The DJB plays ping pong with the effort of sewage treatment. And therein lies the rub.
Nigambodh ghat – the city’s crematorium, STPs releasing effluents into the river, the list of ecological crimes are endless. These are just things I remember from somewhere around 2005.
The river ceases to exist at Wazirabad. It is only when the Chambal joins up with the Yamuna that it is revived as a river.
It is fine to blame Sri Sri for what he is doing to the river ecology, but is anyone asking questions of Modi and AK as to what difference they have wrought about in their efforts to ensure untreated sewage is not expunged into the ‘holy’ Yamuna?