Experts raise eyebrows over releasing enzymes into drains to clean Yamuna

The Art of Living foundation’s plan to release enzymes into 17 drains joining Yamuna for cleaning the river in March has generated much controversy.

While the foundation claims that it is an effective plan, experts have questioned the credibility of the procedure saying that the plan has not got any approval or been tested by any competent authority. 

Art of Living is holding a three-day event from March 11-13 on the west bank of Yamuna floodplains to celebrate 35 years of the foundation. The President and the Prime Minister have given their consent to the part of inaugural ceremony.

Founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had earlier said lakhs of people are bringing enzymes which would be released in the filthy drains to cleanse the water.

‘Smell reduced’
The foundation has already started putting the enzymes and claim that the smell has reduced since then.

“This is a tried and tested formula. It is not happening for the first time and we have experts with us who have approved it. We have started putting the enzymes into the river and the results can be seen already. The smell has reduced since we have taken this step,” said an organiser of the event.

However, when asked how the enzymes actually work in cleaning the river, he failed to explain the process. 

Environmentalist Anand Arya, who has moved the National Green tribunal (NGT) against the plan, said that putting anything into the river without an approval from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is not allowed.

“They produced an expert from Haridwar in the NGT who has given an approval. The NGT has asked them to send it to AIIMS for testing but when will they send it that has not been decided yet,” he said.

He says that his objection is not against enzymes but the fact that something which is untested by the necessary authorities cannot go into the river.

Many queries
“There are so many questions involving the plan like the stability of the product, the method of delivery, how long will these enzymes work and when will they become inert,” Arya says.

Another pertinent question raised by Arya is what happens to enzymes after they clear the pollutants.

“Suppose today pollutants become clear then enzymes can go into the river and if that water is used in irrigation, what happens to our agriculture. The good bacteria in the soil could get destroyed too. So there are so many questions which have to be answered,” he said.

While the next date of hearing on the matter is Tuesday, Delhi government seems to have given the plan a go ahead.

“It is just an experiment. We will see what will happen. If this is successful, we can also try this later,” said Water Minister Kapil Mishra.

Meanwhile, BJP East Delhi MP Mahesh Giri, who has been associated with the foundation since some time, said, “The organisation is known for working for Yamuna. How can they do something which is hazardous for the river”.

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