Proof of how Ya­muna can still be saved

2018 To 2019: Big Pol­lu­tion Gains Post Ganesh Chaturthi

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - Jas­jeev.Gand­hiok @times­group.com

New Delhi: Af­ter the ban on im­mer­sion of idols in the Ya­muna to pre­vent pol­lu­tion by heavy me­tals and toxic dyes, Ganesh Chaturthi in Septem­ber was the first time devo­tees in Delhi con­signed clay stat­ues of the ele­phant­headed god to wa­ter in spe­cially cre­ated ponds in­stead of the river. If the data gath­ered by Delhi Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Com­mit­tee (DPCC) post-im­mer­sion in 2018 and 2019 is an in­di­ca­tion, the river wa­ter saw a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in pol­lu­tion lev­els. DPCC says this is a strong sig­nal that ban­ning idol im­mer­sion in the Ya­muna can be ef­fec­tive in pre­vent­ing con­tam­i­na­tion of the river. The panel is cur­rently as­sess­ing the wa­ter qual­ity post-Durga Puja.

The Ganesh Chaturthi data that TOI has ac­cessed shows a re­duc­tion across al­most all pa­ram­e­ters, among them pres­ence of heavy me­tals, to­tal dis­solved solids and bi­o­log­i­cal oxy­gen de­mand, which mea­sures whether aquatic life can sur­vive in the wa­ter. “With no im­mer­sion of idols, the to­tal dis­solved solids, to­tal sol­u­ble solids, to­tal solids and heavy metal have gone down sig­nif­i­cantly,” Arun Mishra, mem­ber-sec­re­tary, DPCC, told TOI. “Be­cause no toxic dyes and paints en­tered the wa­ter, there has been an im­prove­ment in the bi­o­log­i­cal and chem­i­cal oxy­gen de­mands.”

DPCC com­pared data gath­ered from 10 ghats for 2018 and 2019 and found im­proved wa­ter qual­ity at all lo­ca­tions. The wa­ter qual­ity is de­ter­mined by analysing pa­ram­e­ters such as acid­ity, sus­pended and dis­solved solids, dis­solved oxy­gen and the pres­ence of cop­per, nickel, iron, cad­mium, lead, zinc and other me­tals. At Shyam Ghat, the to­tal sol­u­ble solids (TSS) de­creased from 1008 mg/l last year to just 24 mg/l this year,

Shyam Ghat Geeta Colony Ghat

Mayur Vi­har Ghat Kalindi Kunj Ghat

SHYAM GHAT

2018

2019

KUDSIA GHAT

2018

2019

PA­RAM­E­TERS AS­SESSED: while the to­tal me­tals came down from 3.26 mg/l to 0.74 mg/l. At Sur Ghat, TSS lev­els went down sub­stan­tially from 878 mg/l in 2019 to 22 this year. The to­tal me­tals came down to 4.6 mg/l this year against 12 last year, while at Qudsia Ghat TSS fell from 180 mg/l last year to 24 in 2019.

As for the bi­o­log­i­cal oxy­gen de­mand — a level of 3 mg/l and be­low sus­tains aquatic life — the im­prove­ment this year was re­mark­able. At Ram Ghat, it feel from 6 mg/l to 4.8 mg/l, at Sur Ghat from12 mg/l to 4.6, at Kali Ghat from 20 mg/l to 6.2, and at Qudsia Ghat from 18 mg/l to 8. The drop was high­est at Kalindi Kunj — from 35 mg/l to 15.5.

“The drop in the pa­ram­e­ters shows the im­pact that stop­ping im­mer­sion of idols can have on the Ya­muna,” said Mishra. How­ever, Manoj Mishra, con­vener of Ya­muna Jiye Ab­hiyan, said the ban on im­mer­sions should be seen only as a first step. “Idol im­mer­sion is a sea­sonal oc­cur­rence, so a lot more needs to be done to con­trol ef­flu­ents and other con­tam­i­nants be­ing dis­charged into the Ya­muna,” said Mishra.

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