The Yamuna river passing through 22 km in Delhi was once described as the lifeline of the city, but today it has become one of the dirtiest rivers in the country. The reason:
* Delhi generates about 3,267 million litres per day (mld) of sewage while the city's installed waste water treatment capacity is only 2,330 mld. More than 937 mld of waste is not treated.
Out of Delhi's 2,330 mld treatment capacity, 37 per cent is under-utilised and 1,270 mld of sewage is untreated and allowed to enter the river everyday.
* The Yamuna's 22-km stretch in Delhi is barely 2 per cent of the length of the river, but contributes over 70 per cent of the pollution load.
* Pollution levels in the Yamuna have risen. Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) load has increased by 2.5 times between 1980 and 2005 - from 117 tonnes per day (TPD) in 1980 to 276 TPD in 2005.
* Delhi discharges about 3,684 MLD (million litres per day) of sewage into the Yamuna.
* The faecal coliform count, which indicates the presence of disease causing micro- organisms, is nearly 25,000 times more than the limit prescribed for bathing.
* There are 17 drains entering Yamuna in Delhi and almost 3,500 million liter of waste water enters Yamuna everyday without any treatment.
* The Najafgarh drain contributes to 60% of the total wastewater and 45 per cent of the total BOD load being
discharged from Delhi into the Yamuna. The municipal wastewater has increased from 960 MLD in 1977 to 1,900 MLD in 1997.
* The capacity for treatment -increased from 450 MLD in 1977 to 1,270 MLD in 1997.
* A Central Pollution Control Board study on river water quality at the upstream of Wazirabad shows dissolved oxygen (DO) level at 7.5 mg/l and BOD level at 2.3 mg/l.
* At downstream Okhla, the DO level declined to 1.3 mg/l with the BOD at 16 mg/l, indicating considerable deterioration in water quality due to discharge of sewage and industrial effluents.
* The coliform count at Wazirabad is 8,506/100 ml whereas at Okhla, it increases to 3,29,312/100 ml
Sources: White Paper by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Centre for Science and Environment.
The Supreme Court has been monitoring the cleaning of Yamuna
On March 8, 2011 The Supreme Court sought to know the level of pollution in the river Yamuna and directed the Central Pollution Control Board to file a report
within two weeks after examining the sample of its water. On October 11, 2012 the Supreme Court has rapped the Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh
governments and agencies that have undertaken the task of cleaning the river. Taking cognizance of a report by the Central Pollution
Control Board (CPCB) - which has pointed out that coliform (domestic sewage) level in the river was much higher than the permissible
limit, the court said: "What has happened? Crores have gone. Where? It's a sad state of affairs. Nobody wants to own any
responsibility." Over Rs. 1,200 crore of taxpayers' money has been spent collectively by the Centre and three state governments to clean the Yamuna.
On December 19 , 2012 the Supreme Court roped in experts from the Indian Institutes of Technology at Delhi and Roorkee to draw up plans for cleaning the polluted Yamuna river and
slammed the Delhi Jal Board for its pathetic work.
Study finds harmful insecticide in Yamuna water
The study by the National Reference Trace Organics Laboratory and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in association with the
Ministry of Environment and Forest on July 8, 2013 has found high levels of Lindane widely used in mosquito repellents in the river.
To supplement the efforts of State Governments in addressing the problem of pollution of river Yamuna, Government of India is implementing
Yamuna Action Plan (YAP) with assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency, Government of Japan in a phased manner since 1993.
Yamuna Action Plan (YAP -1): YAP-I, which commenced in April, 1993 was completed in February 2003 at a total cost of Rs. 682 crore covering
various pollution abatement works, including creation of Sewage Treatment capacity of 753.25 million litres per day (mld).
Yamuna Action Plan (YAP -II): YAP-II was approved in 2003 at an estimated cost of Rs. 624 crores
with a completion period of 5 years. The major items of work in YAP -II such as rehabilitation of sewerage network and Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) and construction of new STPs.
Yamuna Action Plan (YAP -III): Further, under YAP-III project for Delhi with an estimated cost of Rs.1656 crores has been approved in 2011. The above information was given by the Minister of State (Independent
Charge) for Environment and Forests Shrimati Jayanthi Natarajan in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on 21-August, 2012.
The third phase of YAP initiated with an estimated cost of Rs. 1656 crore, works for rehabilitation of damaged trunk sewers, rehabilitation and modernization of sewage treatment plants and construction of new
state of art plant is envisaged. The information was given by the Minister of State for Water Resources and Minority Affairs Shri Vincent H. Pala in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on 30-August, 2012.
December 27, 2015: Delhi allows construction on Yamuna floodplain