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Delhi spends 6,856 crore to clean Yamuna, but river is still polluted

02:28 PM Apr 03, 2023 IST | Ground Report
delhi spends 6 856 crore to clean yamuna  but river is still polluted

A question was raised by the Delhi Assembly on the costs of cleaning up the Yamuna River as it runs through Delhi, to which the Department of Environment responded on March 22, stating that nearly Rs 6,856.91 crore was spent on the cleanup efforts between 2017 and 2021.

According to a recent report by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), the Delhi stretch of the Yamuna River remains heavily polluted, with most of the stretch unsuitable for bathing for most of the year.


The report, released in February, revealed that faecal coliform levels in the river were above the ‘desirable level’ at all points except Palla, where the river empties into Delhi. Faecal coliform is a type of microbe found in human and animal waste.

Heavy Pollution of Yamuna River Continues

The water quality of the Yamuna River in the Delhi stretch remains a major concern, with recent data from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) indicating that most of the stretch remains polluted for almost the entire year, which makes it unsuitable for bathing.


The pollution of the river is mainly due to the direct discharge of sewage into the river, with faecal coliform levels exceeding desirable levels at most points except where the river enters Delhi.


The levels of faecal coliform levels were found to be as high as 500 times the desirable level at the point where the river leaves the city, according to The Hindu report.


The pollution of the Yamuna river is primarily due to the direct discharge of sewage into the river. Despite the significant expenditure on the cleanup drive, the situation on the ground suggests that the problem has not been resolved.


Even though various governments have spent significant sums of money on cleanup campaigns since 1994, the health of the river has not improved significantly.

The failure of the cleanup campaigns indicates that there is an urgent need for a sustainable solution to ensure that India’s rivers, including the Yamuna, are safe for human consumption and aquatic life. The country needs to implement better waste management practices and promote the use of green technologies to prevent further degradation of rivers.

Arvind Kejriwal’s promise

Before the 2020 Assembly election, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal presented a 10-point guarantee card, which included a promise to clean up the Yamuna River and free it from pollution.

He assured the public that within five years, the river would be safe for people to take a dip in without fear of contracting diseases from the contaminated water.

At the recent budget session, Kejriwal reaffirmed his commitment to this promise by stating that he will personally plunge into the Yamuna before the next Assembly election.

Almost no oxygen in Yamuna river water

Rising ammonia levels in the river, which are five times above the treatable limit of 0.9 ppm, pose a significant threat to aquatic life, and the mysterious death of the fish is likely due to toxicity of ammonia.

To address the issue, the National Green Court formed a committee in 2018 to create an action plan and detailed report on the river cleanup by December 2019.

The committee submitted its report to the Delhi government, which showed that the Yamuna River goes through Delhi. for just 54 km between Palla and Badarpur.

The 22 km stretch between Wazirabad and Okhla, which represents less than 2% of the river’s total length, concentrates 76% of its pollution.

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