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Clouds of toxic foam float on surface of India’s sacred Yamuna river

Toxic foam covered parts of the Yamuna river flowing through India’s capital of New Delhi on Tuesday (November 9), which according to a local activist, is mostly attributed to illegal dumping of industrial waste and untreated sewage water.

“Untreated sewage and untreated effluent from dyeing industries are being released into the Yamuna directly by sewage treatment plants. Everyone can see the state of the Yamuna, that there is frothing, there is pollution, the water is dirty,” said activist Varun Gulati.

According to Gulati, the denim industries, most of which are illegally set up in residential areas in the capital city are discharging more polluted water into sewage treatment plants (STP) than allowed and the violations continue unmonitored.

The influx of toxic foam comes as Hindu devotees bathe themselves in the Yamuna to mark the Chhath Puja, a religious festival to thank the Sun God for bestwoing bounties of life on the earth. Women were seen bathing and praying amongst clouds of foam.

“The water is extremely dirty but we don’t have many options. It is a ritual to take a bath in a water body during ‘Chhath Puja’ (religious festival devoted to the sun god Surya), so we have come here to bathe,” said one of them Gunjan Devi.

The New Delhi government’s Water Supply Board blamed industrial waste and untreated pollutants from neighbouring Haryana and Uttar Pradesh states for the Yamuna’s worsening pollution.


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