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Toxic Foam in Yamuna Raises Concerns Ahead of Chhath Puja in Delhi

The Delhi Jal Board, responding to criticism, has announced plans to use defoamers at the Okhla barrage to address the recurring issue of foam formation.

By Rekha Joshi 
Updated Date

As Delhi gears up for the upcoming Chhath Puja celebrations, the city faces a political controversy surrounding the toxic foam in the Yamuna River. The Delhi Jal Board, responding to criticism, has announced plans to use defoamers at the Okhla barrage to address the recurring issue of foam formation.

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Days before the Chhath festivities begin, the Delhi government is finalizing preparations at 1,000 ghats for devotees. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has criticized the government for the presence of toxic froth in parts of the Yamuna, which is an annual occurrence during winters due to untreated sewage and industrial pollutants.

Delhi Minister Gopal Rai highlighted the advanced preparations for setting up the ghats, emphasizing the government’s commitment to celebrating the festival on a grand scale. On the other hand, BJP leaders expressed concerns about the impact of toxic foam on Chhath celebrations, pointing to pollution in the Yamuna after the Wazirabad barrage.

North East Delhi MP Manoj Tiwari attributed pollution to the Najafgarh drain, urging authorities to permit prayers in cleaner sections of the river. Delhi BJP President Virendra Sachdeva and Delhi Congress Chief Arvinder Singh Lovely voiced their concerns, accusing the government of neglecting Yamuna’s cleanliness.

In response to the criticism, a senior Delhi Jal Board official outlined plans to spray defoamers at the Okhla barrage from November 16 to November 20, closely monitoring river parameters and pollutants.

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Environmental activist Diwan Singh highlighted the larger issue of untreated sewage and industrial effluents contributing to the foam formation. He criticized the use of defoaming agents as a temporary solution and emphasized the need for sustained efforts beyond the Chhath celebrations.

Chhath, a significant festival for the Purvanchali community in Delhi, will be celebrated from November 17 to 20. As preparations intensify, the government assures devotees of essential facilities at the ghats, with district collectors instructed to ensure necessary arrangements, including hygiene measures.

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