Yamuna Monitoring Committee appointed by National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to ascertain the effect of lockdown on the water quality of River Yamuna and submit a report within a week.
The directions were given when several people started sharing pictures of cleaner Yamuna on social media, ascribing the decline in pollution levels in the river due to 21-day lockdown.
CPCB has found that reduction in discharge of Industrial effluents into the river has improved the water quality of Ganga River. GPCB data showed that water of Ganga river is suitable for bathing at most monitoring centres. Experts opined that due to lower industrial activities during the lockdown, the river water has shown significant improvement, especially around the industrial clusters. But no official report has been released showing improvement of water quality yet.
The CPCB report on Impact on Air Quality due to lockdown is illuminating. The report stated that “as a result of stringent travel restrictions and shutting down of non-essential activities including those of air polluting sectors, air quality improvement has been noted in many towns and cities across the nation”
Sharing a video, showing a cleaner Yamuna on Twitter, Manoj Misra of the non-profit Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan said, “We focused largely on sewage control infrastructure etc. and ignored the scourge of industrial pollution,” Despite laws in place, industries were given a long rope vis a vis their pollution. Now COVID-19 emphatically proves where the key problem lies, he said.
Apart from this a few pictures on Twitter also showed the pollution load in the river has not reduced drastically as being claimed. thin layers of toxic foam are still floating on its surface.