Delhi Decoded: River Yamuna became cleaner during lockdown1 min read . Updated: 08 Oct 2020, 04:32 PM IST
- Experts say that during the lockdown, factors like reduced industrial and agricultural demand, increase in natural cleansing due to enhanced flow, and more water in the river contributed to making Yamuna cleaner.
New Delhi: Rejuvenation of the Yamuna river has been a long-standing demand. The issue has been on the agenda of various governments. Earlier this year, when the country went into lockdown, photos of a cleaner river Yamuna in the national capital began to surface.
The period of lockdown saw industries being closed which led to less waste flowing into the river. Experts say that during the lockdown, factors like reduced industrial and agricultural demand, increase in natural velocity cleansing due to enhanced flow, and more water in the river contributed to making Yamuna cleaner.
They also point out that on regular days, when the flow diminishes, the natural cleansing capacity is reduced to zero. However, the period of lockdown saw an increased flow.
“The pollution in the river is not only because there are huge quantities of waste being generated but it is also because the river does not have adequate flow. There is a huge demand for water and a lot of water is extracted from the river so it is only the sewerage or the industrial waste which flows into the river. During the lockdown, across sectors there was a reduced demand of extraction of water from the river which resulted in more flow into the river. This resulted in dilution of waste which was flowing into the river," Suresh Kumar Rohilla, who is the programme director for the water management programme at the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said in this podcast.
He said the river looked good visually and it didn’t smell bad. While industries not taking water increased the flow of water, there was also an enhancement of sewage generation. However, this period saw no improvement in the sewage treatment that happened.
“On the testing part, there was enough water and industries were not functioning. However, cities were generating sewage and households, which were not connected to the piped system, also continued to dump waste into the river. People continued to live. Due to covid, more pharmaceutical waste would have been added and more water would have been added because houses were using more water to wash hands and clothes. There has been a considerable increase in the generation of waste water," he added.
Delhi Decoded is a weekly podcast. You can listen to all the episodes here.