Press Esc to close
Friday 26 May 2017
News updated at 1:33 AM IST

The shadow cast by toxicity

Neha Das, April 4, 2013: 21:57 IST

The Yamuna is polluting vegetables. Its time to act

Stop. Wait. Watch out... The fresh, green spinach that you must add to your daily salad or meal may not be all that healthy. Is that spinach, normally laden with nutrients, hazardous now? Is our very own Yamuna river so polluted that it is polluting spinach and vegetables. Has this river with spiritual connotations for Delhiites now a drain?

That Yamuna water is no longer safe for consumption is common knowledge now. For Delhi’s citizens, the river has always been the single largest water source. Today, the Yamuna contributes over 724 million cubic metres which is a substantial part of the surface water requirement of Delhi.

While the river is turning dark and dirty, the number of life forms too are dropping. And the flip side is that the vegetables continue to be grown on the banks of
Yamuna. It’s time to stand up and be counted. It’s time to do something. What do the
experts say?

Metrolife spoke to few environmentalists for their stand on the river’s harmful effects. Govind Singh, Director, Delhi Greens, an NGO studying the Yamuna imbroglio, said, “It is no longer a river now, it is a drain. The water has many metals, and is high in lead and iron; the vegetables grown on the banks also contain these metals. What is terrible is that these toxic substances get accumulated in the body. The bones weaken, digestion is affected and there are low metabolism problems.”

A river is dying before our very eyes. It is getting more polluted by the day. And efforts to clean it have been in vain. Over the years, a large amount of public money has been spent on cleaning the river and raising people’s awareness about the river’s fallout. The end result: No positive results.

Spinach, turnip, cauliflower, cabbage and onions are grown on the banks – these directly go to the vegetable mandi which is linked to suppliers, and then bought by consumers. Manoj Mishra, convenor of Yamuna Jiyo Abhiyaan, agrees with Govind. “There are two types of toxic substances which find their way into these vegetables.

One is through the soil and the other is through Yamuna’s water with which the vegetables are washed. This water contains arsenic, lead and chromium which accumulate in the body, and become carcinogenic which can cause cancer. Then there is another problem – the use of pesticides. Although pesticides need not be used, it’s fashionable to do so. Pesticides are called dawai but the term should be ‘poison’.”

Bharat Lal Seth, Deputy Programme Manager (Water), Centre for Science and Environment, said, “There’s no regular testing of the soil, surface, ground and soil water. There should be a periodic examination of the soil samples to check the amount of toxic substances in the vegetables because it’s a fact that Yamuna is poison-ridden.”

There are facts – health facts – like the rise in the incidence of waterborne and water-related diseases in Delhi. A grim fallout – diarrhoea, typhoid and jaundice. The big question remains: What is the fate of the Yamuna, and how much of the money has helped to clean up the river?

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R-L), former US President Barack Obama and Heinrich...

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R-L), former US President Barack Obama and Heinrich...

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj greeting Indian woman Uzma at Jawahar Bhawan after she...

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj greeting Indian woman Uzma at Jawahar Bhawan after she...

Police officials stand by the wreckage of the Sikorsky VT-CMM helicopter, carrying Maharashtra...

Police officials stand by the wreckage of the Sikorsky VT-CMM helicopter, carrying Maharashtra...

Supporters of Indias Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) try to break a police barricade during...

Supporters of Indias Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) try to break a police barricade during...

A supporter of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) smashes an overturned car during a protest against...

A supporter of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) smashes an overturned car during a protest against...

Members of Sadou Asom Nirman Sramik Union under the banner of CITU staging a protest...

Members of Sadou Asom Nirman Sramik Union under the banner of CITU staging a protest...

Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) refugees shouting slogans during a protest for their various...

Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) refugees shouting slogans during a protest for their various...

Activists of All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) taking out a protest rally against an alleged fake...

Activists of All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) taking out a protest rally against an alleged fake...

NCC cadets of Jammu and Kashmir unit raising patriotic slogans after performing drills during...

NCC cadets of Jammu and Kashmir unit raising patriotic slogans after performing drills during...

Relatives and villagers attending the funeral of eight activists who had lost their lives...

Relatives and villagers attending the funeral of eight activists who had lost their lives...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.