Veggies from Yamuna floodplains may be toxic
Consumption of crops grown along the Yamuna can lead to serious health implications due to heavy metal poisoning, a study by Toxics Link, an environmental research and advocacy organization, has found. According to the study, the presence of heavy metals such as lead, chromium, arsenic and mercury have been found in sediment samples at the river. “All the detected heavy metals are known to cause serious health implications, so standards have been prescribed to limit the heavy metals content in drinking water and food,” the study notes.
While the report notes that “there is no specific standard for heavy metal content in the sediment and soil”, it observes that the level of heavy metals in the sediments of the Yamuna is high. Interestingly, the report also underlines that the level of heavy metal contamination increases significantly after Wazirabad. This may be due to the discharge of waste water into the river from various canals and drains.
The study tested the ‘Toxicity Load of Yamuna River in Delhi’ and examined the pH, turbidity, solids, and heavy metals in water and sediments of the river. The samples were collected from different locations in Delhi (before and after Wazirabad) during pre- and post-monsoon season.
“The results indicate high concentration of turbidity and total solids at both before and after Wazirabad locations,” the study states. Apart from raising awareness about the issue and using technology to decontaminate the river, the study also recommends mapping out the sources of pollution and remedial measures to ‘decontaminate the river bed’ of heavy metals.