Students, activists join hand to clean Yamuna River in Agra

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Agra, Feb.7 (ANI): Setting an example for society, hundreds of enthusiastic students and local residents joined hands in the city of Taj Mahal in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday to launch a campaign to clean the polluted Yamuna river.

Organized by the Nehru Youth Centre, the week-long campaign saw scores of students from around five states participating in this drive.

"Our aim is to extract pollutants like polythene from the river. The factories should stop dumping their waste and contaminated water into the river. We can only offer our labour, the rest left to the authorities and the locals. We will definitely take part in this drive whenever we get a chance in the future," said Harmendra Kaur, a participant from Haryana.

Due to the discharge of untreated effluents upstream from open drains and barrages, the quality of water has deteriorated drastically.

"The drive to clean the river was started by the authorities around two to three months back. The campaign launched by the Nehru Youth Centre aimed towards bringing the students from various states together and conveying a message to the locals that one should keep Yamuna clean. They should realize that if students from different states are working towards making the river pollution-free, so the least they can do is not throw waste into the river," said Aditya Kumar, Administrator, District Youth Welfare Centre.

River Yamuna holds not only mythological but also historical significance to India, and is today in a pitiable state. Its water has become unfit for bathing leave alone drinking purpose.

According to Central Pollution Control Board, around 70 percent of the pollution in the Yamuna is human excrement.

A major source of pollution of the Yamuna is New Delhi, which contributes 3,296 MLD (million litres per day) of sewage into the river. Only half of the sewage produced in New Delhi is treated effectively.

Sewage discharge from New Delhi and major towns like Mathura have irreversibly altered its ecology. The river has been termed as incapable of supporting any aquatic life.

Environmentalists have also been highlighting the damage caused to human health by allowing the discharged sewage to re-enter the human food chain via the agricultural produce watered by it in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana states.

The Yamuna Action Plan, started in 1993 with the aim of conserving the river, has met with no success, despite billions of rupees being spent on it. By Brijesh Kumar Singh (ANI)

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