The Crisis and Its Impact
Agricultural Output and Quality
The beans, spinach leaves and carrots that the citizens of Delhi eat have been called potentially hazardous to health, silencing the aggressive moms that want to transform their frail kids into Popoye. The fruits and vegetables grown in the Yamuna Basin do not simply consist of nutrients, but are also enriched with heavy metal concentrations due to the polluted river water that is used for the irrigation of these crops. The soil too as a result, is improperly nourished. Whatever crops are grown on this soil, are consequently deprived of useful nutrients and often contain harmful substances. A recent study conducted by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) indicated that the levels of metals, like nickel, manganese and lead, in the river water were much higher than the international aquatic water quality criteria for fresh water.
Aquatic Life and Food Web
Industrial processes and wastes often contain heavy metals that are toxic to marine life. Some toxins even affect the reproductive success of aquatic animals, thereby disrupting the marine hierarchy. Organic matter and nutrients cause an increase in aerobic algae and depletes oxygen from the water column. This is called eutrophication and causes the suffocation of fish and other aquatic organisms.
Presence of particles in the water also prevents complete penetration of sunlight disrupting the growth of photosynthetic organisms and subsequent effect on organisms dependent on these organisms. Since the Indian fish industry runs on supplies from these rivers, heavy metals and harmful organic nutrients find their way into our bodies and cause diseases.
Unable to provide the citizens access to clean drinking water, it would be harsh to expect the government to provide some relief to the animals and birds that need water for their survival. These creatures solely depend on inconsistent means of water such as a leaking tap or the kindness of a passerby, and bear the scorching (about 46 degrees Celsius) Delhi heat with bravery.
Eutrophication and Its Impact
|Eutrophication and Its Impact||Scorching heat, no relief for stray animals||Rely only on our kindenss|
More Said Than Done
The river Yamuna which was once filled with beautiful fish swimming gracefully through the water is now witness to the brutal death of these creatures. Responsible for about 80% of the river pollution, Delhi is a major factor in this decline of the fish population. This decline has proved to be a blow to the fish industry too. The river joins the larger and one of the most scared rivers of the country, Ganga, and together they flow, or rather pollute the vast expanse of the Bay of Bengal.
The Indian Government began the Yamuna Action Plan in collaboration with Japan to clean the river in the year 1993. Since its launch, about Rs 686 crore (over $13 billion) has been spent to fund the project, but no drastic drops have been observed in the river pollution, leaving the river toxic, the general public thirsty...and the government poor.