Yamuna polluted beyond control: Even its treated water can kill you

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Yamuna polluted beyond control: Even its treated water can kill you

A study published in the International Journal of Engineering Sciences and Research Technology concluded that even the expensive water treatment plants were incapable of treating the polluted water, and that the water was unfit for any purpose.

With its status close to 'dead', the Yamuna river in Delhi sees no signs of healing. The water is toxic and unfit for any purpose even after treatment, a study has revealed.


"Even expensive water treatment technologies are incapable of treating the polluted river water. And, the conventional water processes based on chemical filtration and biological treatment are not suitable for removing the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)," stated the study published in International Journal of Engineering Sciences and Research Technology.

Researchers collected and tested water samples from the Najafgarh drain, a nursing home drain out, the stream of Yamuna near the Nizamuddin Bridge, Okhala barrage, near the origin of Agra canal - all of which flow into the Yamuna.


It was noted that an alarming amount of polluted water gets supplied to the Agra canal for irrigation in agricultural lands of 638 villages.

"We investigated the impact of urban runoff on the water quality of the Yamuna river in Delhi, which flows into the Agra canal and is used for irrigation purposes. Results showed drastic variations in each of the water samples after treatment," said R S Dubey, Department of Applied Chemistry, Amity University, Noida, the author of the study.



  1. "Water pollution levels are higher by multiples than the limit prescribed by the pollution control authorities for irrigation. The water quality of Yamuna is polluted and not suitable for any other purposes," Dubey said.

  2. Water samples were analysed for various physiochemical parameters such as pH, total suspended solids (TSS), total dissolved solids (TDS), total hardness (TH), total alkalinity (TA), biological oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), dissolved oxygen (DO), electrical conductivity (EC), chloride, sulphate, nitrate, toxic metals, and microbial population (MP) levels by following the standard method.

  3. The water quality was good along areas where the river enters Delhi before the Wazirabad barrage.

  4. While the optimum pH for river water is around 7.4, the study found that mean pH of the Yamuna water varies from 7.5 to 11.8 at different sampling points.

  5. Where BOD levels are high, DO levels decrease because the oxygen that is available in the water gets consumed by the bacteria.

  6. "An experimental observation shows the DO as zero. The type of water in Delhi falls under 'dead water quality', thereby making it unfit for irrigation or any other domestic or industrial purpose," said Dubey.

  7. "Most of the rivers in the urban regions are the end points of waste water discharged from households and industries, which create major problem for river water quality management. The wastewater discharges contribute to significant river water degradation, reduce agricultural products quality, land fertility and ultimately affect public health," he said.

  8. The study also found major groundwater pollution in the Yamuna river bed.

  9. The researchers have recommended industrial and untreated sewage waste to be checked immediately.

  10. Commercial establishments on the Yamuna river bank must be monitored strictly by appropriate authorities and the they should change the present sewage treatment technology as soon as possible.

Source: India Today