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Claire Cummings Francis Bezzina Mitch Yunker Envs 160 Spring 08 Water Pollution in the Yamuna River, New

Delhi, India

With the rapidly growing population in New Delhi, pollution levels are at an all time high and continue to become increasingly dangerous to city residents. New Delhi is subject to pollution in all forms and has been categorized among the top ten most polluted cities in the world. One of the most significant factors contributing to New Delhis massive pollution levels, though, is extreme contamination of the Yamuna River, the citys primary source of water. Water pollution has been a major issue in New Delhi for quite some time and there have been numerous acts already set in part to help alleviate the issue. However, none of these acts have been followed through with to the extent necessary and pollution levels continue to grow. New Delhi government and the Pollution Control Board initiated the Environmental Protection Act in 1986. The act was partially successful, promoting greener vehicle use and even cleaner oil. Unfortunately, however, pollution levels simply slowed down for a short while before again becoming out of control. The Central Pollution Control Board started two slightly more minor acts; the Cess Act and the Amendment Act in 1977 and 1988, respectively. Both encouraged better treatment of sewage before being dumped into the Yamuna but neither made any significant progress due to a widespread lack of motivation about the issue. The pressures behind India's environmental problem are largely industrial. The recent economic boom for India has brought its good qualities, but there has not been

regulation on waste handling. Major amounts of pollutant wastes are dumped straight into the Yamuna River. Adding to this hefty problem is the fact that the economic boom further increased the population. The population was already in a poor situation, and the influx of those seeking work in the newly developed financial opportunities only added to this. Of major note is the sewage situation; little has been done to cleanly accommodate these newcomers. As a result, the sewage is building up and not being dealt with properly. Sewage is dumped straight into the Yamuna River, which is where the majority of people in New Delhi bathe and wash their clothes. One of the worst aspects of this method of dumping is that the majority of people don't realize how bad the situation with waste is. The handling of waste in general is simply terrible; a recent survey indicates that two in every five New Delhi residents have pollution related health problems. Yet lack of government motivation and lack of knowledge allows this poor state to worsen. The things that need to be done can fall into a basic three step process. First of all, the people need to understand exactly how preposterous the situation is. Once the masses of New Delhi are aware, it will be much harder for them to simply ignore the problems they are faced with. With people behind causes, there can be motivation for change. With enough people, this movement can be taken to the next level; government action. Legislation can bring about legal consequences for those who improperly dispose of their waste. As it is currently, the industries have power. They employ a vast amount of people, and it can be guessed that employees will continue to ignore the problem as long as they can work. But these people must be made to realize that the environmental damage being done isn't worth it; the best way to go about this is to get the majority of the populace to understand their situation. Understanding, motivation, legislation; these are steps that could be followed to help deal with New Delhi's terrible health crisis.

The pollution of the Yamuna River has a variety of impacts on New Delhis environment. Most noteworthy of these issues would be the risk the pollution poses for the citizens health. This poisonous river is one of the only sources of water for many of the citys inhabitants. The pollution would primarily affect citizens of the lower caste since the rich Indians are able to afford bottled water from outside of the city. The upper class would hardly be phased by the potential health risks. This leads to a separate impact posed by the immense disparity between the rich and the poor. Since the wealthy citizens are not physically affected by the water pollution, nor are the businesses. Because of this, there are hardly any economic impacts. The pollution of the river is in fact making the rich richer if anything else since it enables them to easily dispose waste without being regulated or taxed. Another impact this then creates is the lack of political motivation to change anything. The people from the higher castes are the ones that run business and politics, and so if they are not compelled to change the system, no legislature has any chance of making it through. Unfortunately, the state of the biodiversity situated around this vital river is greatly influenced by the rivers contamination. The Yamuna River is a crucial asset to much of Indias ecosystem, which is why its pollution has the potential to be so detrimental. Many forest groves thrive off the shores of the river; it is a support system for a variety of trees such as the Sal and Chir Pine forests. Also, the Asian Elephant survives off the water from the Yamuna River. If the water were to continue to be polluted at the same rate, the elephants, the forests, and many other forms of wildlife would have to relocate or face extinction.

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