December 15, 2018
Latest News

India's sacred river now a sewer despite expensive cleaning plans

New Delhi, Dec 5 (efe-epa).- As dawn broke on Tuesday, the banks of the Yamuna river in the Indian capital was deserted save for a couple of men who braved the early morning chill and shaved their heads, a Hindu ritual in India following a parent's death, and took a dip in the dark hued water of the river, one of India's major rivers and once a lifeline of its capital, but also one of its most polluted despite decades of expensive cleaning campaigns.

The river, a mass of white toxic foam, as waste from ritual bathing, industrial and agricultural runoff, as well as untreated sewage are dumped into it daily, is now frequently described as a dead river or a sewer.

"The river is too polluted, but I don't think people who come here think about it that much because most of them are not so aware," Prashant Prasad, 34, who had come to the river for rituals with his family told EFE.

The 1,376 kilometers (855 miles) long river that flows through the Indian capital and the neighboring city of Agra of Taj Mahal fame, is considered to be one of the most sacred rivers in India and hence is a popular destination for Indians, especially during Hindu festivals, whose rituals are often intrinsically linked to flowing water.

The pollution in the river began to escalate alarmingly in the 70s due to greater industrial activities and intensive pesticide usage, environment expert Manoj Misra, who since 2013 has obtained several court rulings in favor of the river's protection, told EFE.

Ever since 2002, after the construction of a dam 200 kilometers to the north of Delhi, when 99 percent of the river's water was diverted to two irrigation canals, the river has been dead and devoid of aquatic life, added Misra.

In 2015, India's National Green Tribunal had also described the Yamuna as a sewer, adding that decades of efforts, including three recovery projects under the Yamuna Action Plan that cost some 420 million euros ($497 million), failed to improve the quality of the river's water.

Minister of State for Water Resources Vijay Goel, in a written response to the Parliament in July, had attributed the pollution to inadequate flow "due to over extraction of surface and groundwater and discharge of untreated effluent."

He had added his ministry was providing assistance to states, through which the river flows, in a phased manner since 1993 under the Yamuna Action Plan (YAP).

The first two phases of the Yamuna Action Plan were launched in 1993 and 2003, with a budget of around 200 million euros, and the third phase was started in 2013 with a budget of around 220 million euros.

The construction of water treatment plants and sewers had formed an important part of these plans, but in most cases the construction of the plants never took off.

The Delhi Jal Board, a government agency responsible for managing sewage in the Indian capital, had told the NGT in October that they were yet to start the construction of 17 water treatment plants that were part of the latest clean campaign.

Alok K. Sikka, India Representative at the International Water Management Institute, told EFE that the problem is that only 46 percent of Delhi has a sewage system and plants which receive the wastes function at barely 40 percent of their capacities.

The remaining 54 percent ends up in septic tanks before they are recovered and dumped directly into the Yamuna, said Krishna Rao, another member of IWMI.

The pollution in the Yamuna river is directly linked to a lack of toilets in the country and can be addressed with the help of the flagship Clean India Campaign that aims to install a toilet in every Indian home, he added.

News history
Ecuador's president says 1st priority of governments is the poor

Doha, Dec 15 (efe-epa).- The president of Ecuador defended on Saturday that the first priority of governments is to pay attention to the poor.

Brexit disarray sends shivers through banks

Frankfurt/London, Dec 15 (efe-epa).- Nervous bank executives have been busily jetting in and out of meetings with Europe's top financial regulators in the...

China confirms suspension of tariffs on US vehicles

Shanghai, China, Dec 15 (efe-epa).- China has confirmed it will suspend tariffs on vehicles and auto parts from the United States from Jan. 1, state-run...

Brazil launches first of 5 navy attack submarines

Rio de Janeiro, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- Brazil on Friday launched the first of five navy attack submarines to be built in the South American country under a...

Paraguayan cabbies protest arrival of Uber

Asuncion, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- Hundreds of taxi drivers demonstrated here Friday in front of Paraguay's Palace of Justice in protest against the arrival of...

Zayed Sustainability Prize brings solar energy to rural Bolivia

La Paz, Dec 14 (epa-efe).- A program launched under the auspices of the UAE's Zayed Sustainability Prize is bringing electricity to some 3,000 residents of...

Vast Iberdrola solar park means more clean energy for Mexico

By Marti Quintana

Russia Central Bank raises interest rates in effort to stem risks

Madrid, Dec. 14 (efe-epa).- Russia's central bank raised its key interest rate for the second time in four months in a surprise decision Friday that aims to...

China to suspend additional tariffs on US vehicles

Beijing, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- China will suspend additional tariffs on vehicles and automobile parts made in the United States for three months starting...

OPEC crude basket drops to $58.67

Vienna, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- The basket of crude oil used as a benchmark indicator by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries fell to $58.67, the...

Sterling falls as UK PM makes little progress in EU talks

London, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- Sterling falls after UK Prime Minister Theresa May failed to secure meaningful concessions from European Union leaders for her...

French economy likely slowed in December; PMI data underwhelms

Madrid, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- French economic growth likely ground to a halt in December as businesses reported widespread disruption as a result of weeks of...

Hong Kong stocks close 1.62 percent down

Beijing, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- The Hong Kong stock exchange's benchmark Hang Seng index on Friday fell 1.62 percent, or 429.56 points, to close at 26,094.79...

Australia signs $35-billion contract to build 9 new frigates

Adelaide, Australia, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- The Australian government on Friday signed a $35 billion contract for building nine Hunter Class frigates for its...

Shanghai stock close down 1.53 percent

Shanghai, China, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- The Shanghai Stock Exchange's Composite index closed on Friday with a decline of 1.53 percent, or 40.31 points, to stand...

Seoul stocks close 1.25 percent down

Seoul, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- The Seoul stock exchange's benchmark KOSPI index closed on Friday with a decline of 26.17 points or 1.25 percent to end at 2,069.38.

South Korean president names 16 new vice ministers

Seoul, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- The South Korean president on Friday named 16 new vice ministers, including a new vice minister for finance.

Tokyo stocks close 2.02 percent down

Tokyo, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- The Tokyo Stock Exchange's benchmark Nikkei index on Friday declined 441.36 points, or 2,02 percent, to end at 21,374.83.

China's industrial output growth slows down to 5.4 percent in November

Beijing, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- China's industrial output grew 5.4 percent year-on-year in November, five decimal points below the rate registered in October,...

Japan's business confidence remains stable

Tokyo, Dec 14 (efe-epa) - The confidence of Japan's large manufacturing companies in the performance of the country's economy remained stable in the fourth...

LatAm nations back strengthening energy integration

Montevideo, Dec 13 (efe-epa).- Government ministers from countries belonging to the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE) on Thursday backed...

Bread is the latest item in short supply in Cuba

Havana, Dec 13 (efe-epa).- Long lines at bakeries, murmured complaints on the street but fiery ones on the social networks and, finally, an official...

Greenpeace protests against Brazil's planned auction of Amazon oil blocks

Rio de Janeiro, Dec 13 (efe-epa).- Greenpeace on Thursday staged an attention-grabbing protest against Brazil's plans to auction off oil blocks in the...

Branson's space-tourism company rockets out of atmosphere for first time

Los Angeles, Dec 13 (efe-epa).- Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson's space-tourism venture, reached the edge of space in a test flight Thursday, four years...

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.