Students show their concern for the languishing Yamuna

Students show their concern  for the languishing Yamuna

Delhi University’s annually-commissioned science projects, which are displayed at the Innovation Plaza during Antardhwani every year, reflect a shared concern for Yamuna this time.

Of the over 60 projects put on show by an equal number of colleges, at least half-a-dozen deal with gauging the extent of pollution in the river, destroying the pollutants, studying the land-usage around Yamuna and even providing livelihood to local inhabitants. The college students showed in their own way that they care about their city.

A group of five students from Ramjas College proudly displayed a process developed by them to “safely degrade” a set of chemicals found in Yamuna called ‘azo dyes’.

One of them, Kushagra Bajpai, enthusiastically explained, “Azo dyes are regularly released in the river by a range of industries starting from textiles, cosmetics, leather and printing to food colourants.

It is non-biodegradable and highly toxic. Now we have proposed a catalytic system which will degrade it completely. It is called the Advanced Oxidation Process which produces hydroxyl radicals in sufficient quantity to affect water treatment. This process, if implemented, will take care of a large amount of pollution in the river.”

The group zealously added that they have applied for a patent and are even approaching the Government to “purchase it.”

A group of girls from the Zakir Hussain College, on the other hand, demonstrated with charts, chemical solutions, test tubes et al how the humble onion can be used to study ‘Effects of pollutants in Yamuna on the human body.’

They took samples of Yamuna water from different sites such as Okhla barrage, Sarai Kale Khan, Lohapul etc and grew onion roots in them to study the “mutagenic changes” in them.

A Botany student amongst them, Mansi Gogna explained, “Onions are living vegetables and display the same genetic alterations as occur in human beings. Our laboratories can use this cost-effective method to study diseases caused by the
polluted Yamuna water.”

Students of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College prepared an elaborate model on land-use around Yamuna and how it has transformed from ‘forest’ to ‘transport, industrial as well as residential.’

“It is very important that we undertake such studies on Yamuna periodically,” stated a student Kuldeep Shukla, “Or else, we will continue to have Akshardhams, bus depots and power stations built on the riverbank and one day the river will be gone.”

Girls of Miranda House went a step further and interacted with farmers living on the riverbank on “minimising the usage of pesticides, good farming practices and keeping the river clean.” They are hopeful that their project ‘Miles on the Yamuna II’ will fetch them a prize this time. Their project last year ‘Miles on the Yamuna I’ won them the ‘Best Innovation Project’ in Antardhwani last year.

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