Delhi govt sets up barricades and water sprays to clean Yamuna of toxic foam

Froth is a sign of a polluted river, and a likely result of release of untreated or poorly treated effluents.

Devotees were seen offering prayers on Chhath Puja standing in the froth in the Yamuna. (Photo: PTI)

The Delhi government is finally doing something to rid the Yamuna of the unsightly and toxic foam floating on the water that is visible to anyone near the river.

On Wednesday, the government resorted to sprinkling water at high speed at various locations on the river to dissipate the dirty froth, and also set up bamboo barricades near Kalindi Kunj in south Delhi to stop the foam from floating towards the riverbank.

Froth is a sign of a polluted river, and a likely result of release of untreated or poorly treated effluents, including sewage from those parts of the city that are not connected to the sewerage network and industrial waste. It points to increased ammonia levels and high phosphate content in the water.

According to an official quoted in media reports, the Arvind Kejriwal government has put 15 boats to work to remove the foam forming on the river in the wake of rising pollution levels across the Capital. The official said a decision had been taken jointly by the irrigation and flood control department, revenue department and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee.

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Two men were seen putting up bamboo barricades in the river to “stop the foam from floating towards the ghat (bank)”, according to visuals posted by ANI from Kalindi Kunj.

The Delhi government had earlier this year formulated a nine-point action plan to minimise frothing in the Yamuna due to the discharge of untreated sewage into the water.

Wednesday’s measures coincided with Chhat Puja celebrations, though the Yamuna remains out of bounds under an order of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority. The froth problem was highlighted recently after visuals of devotees standing in the foam formed by pollutants circulated on social media.

It also led to a blame-game among political parties, with AAP MLA Raghav Chadha, who is also the Delhi Jal Board vice-chairman, saying on Tuesday that the toxic foam was a gift to Delhi from the governments in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, both ruled by the BJP.

The BJP questioned chief minister Kejriwal in an open letter that “the central government has provided Arvind Kejriwal Rs 2,419 crore so far to clean the Yamuna. Let alone clean, the Yamuna is dirtier than ever before. Where did all the money go? Has Arvind Kejriwal spent all the money in putting out more ads just to promote himself?”

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