September 24, 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
HIV cases drop in Australia but increase among heterosexuals

Sydney, Australia, Sep 24 (EFE).- Cases of people infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus in Australia decreased by 7 percent in the last five years...

Thousands of Panamanians clean beaches of trash and plastic

Panama City, Sep 23 (efe-epa).- Thousands of Panamanians turned out on Sunday to clean local beaches with the aim of highlighting the serious environmental...

Everything ready in Israel to celebrate Sukkot, the Jewish holiday of joy

Jerusalem, Sep 23 (efe-epa).- Everything was ready in Israel on Sunday evening to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, known as the joyous Fest of the...

Huge crowds turn out in India's Mumbai for final day of Ganesha festival

Mumbai, Sep 23 (efe-epa).- Vast crowds of Hindu devotees packed the streets of the Indian city of Mumbai on Sunday for the final day of the Ganesh Chaturthi...

Pope calls for caution against resurgence of totalitarianism

Kaunsas, Lithuania, Sep 23 (efe-epa).- Pope Francis spoke about resurgence of totalitarianism and prayed its outbreak may be detected in time, during his...

Trump government proposes measures against immigrants getting public benefits

Washington DC, Sep 22 (efe-epa).- The United States government proposed Saturday a measure to prevent legal immigrants receiving government aid from getting...

Chinese hospital ship arrives at Venezuela amid health crisis

Caracas, Sep 22 (efe-epa).- The Chinese hospital ship Ark of Peace docked Saturday at La Guaira, Venezuela's largest port, to offer medical attention and...

Heater invented in Chile saves 75 pct. of fuel

Santiago, Sep 22 (efe-epa).- A Chilean researcher has invented an ecoefficient heater that burns wood but promises to save up to 75 percent of fuel and...

Puerto Rican islet close to disappearing due to climate change

San Juan, Sep 22 (efe-epa).- Puerto Rico could lose its emblematic Palominito islet, a popular tourist spot off the east coast of the main island, due to...

People's Walk For Wildlife in London

London, Sep 22 (efe-epa).- Crowds of people walked through the streets of central London on Saturday calling for more legislation to protect British...

Vatican and China sign deal over bishops, allowing pope a veto

Rome/Beijing, Sep 22 (efe-epa).- The Vatican and the Chinese government signed an agreement on the appointment of bishops in China, ending a decades-long...

8 children dead, 6 wounded while playing as bomb detonates in Afghanistan

Kabul, Sep 22 (efe-epa).- Eight children died and six others were wounded when a bomb exploded while they were playing, in Faryab province in northern...

Pope warns of voices sowing conflicts during Lithuania visit

Vilnius, Sep 22 (efe-epa).- Pope Francis arrived Saturday in Lithuania, a country that, as he recalled, "has suffered from totalitarian ideologies," warning...

Solar array will make Bogota airport the greenest in LatAm

Bogota, Sep 21 (efe-epa).- El Dorado International Airport will become the greenest terminal in Latin America when an array of 10,369 solar panels enters...

Jalisco folk ballet promotes respect for sexual diversity in Mexico

By Mariana Gonzalez

New reading device provides alternative to Braille in Mexico

Mexico City, Sep 21 (efe-epa).- Braille could soon be challenged by an alternative reading system that uses a new device based on artificial intelligence to...

Telemedicine faces the challenge of reaching low-income groups

Mexico City, Sep 21 (efe-epa).- The use of digital technologies in distance medicine allows people to access health services much faster than usual and...

Widodo signs 3-year moratorium on palm oil plantation development

Jakarta, Sep 21 (efe-epa).- The president of Indonesia has ordered a three-year moratorium on new palm oil plantations, officials said on Friday.

Dalai Lama visits Tibetan community in Switzerland

Rikon, Switzerland, Sep 21 (efe-epa).- The Dalai Lama met with Tibetan people living in Switzerland on Friday as part of a five-day visit to the Alpine...

Shia Muslims take part in Ashura processions in Pakistan's Quetta

Quetta, Pakistan, Sep 21 (efe-epa).- Shia Muslims marched through Quetta in the restive Balochistan province in Pakistan Friday to mark Ashura day, a...

New York archdiocese names ex-judge to review abuse cases

New York, Sep 20 (efe-epa).- New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan on Thursday named retired Federal Judge Barbara Jones to conduct an "independent, scrupulous"...

Mexico's Isla Espiritu Santo, a jewel of biodiversity in the Sea of Cortes

La Paz, Mexico, Sep 20 (efe-epa).- From the turquoise-colored bay of La Paz, near the southern tip of Baja California, one can discern part of Isla Espiritu...

Paraguay's president launches dialogue on education reform

Asuncion, Sep 20 (efe-epa).- Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez and his education minister on Thursday launched a social dialogue aimed at devising...

Iraqi Shia Muslims commemorate Ashura

Baghdad, Sep 20 (efe-epa).- Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Shia on Thursday commemorated the Muslim holy day of Ashura.

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