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Current Affairs

Yamuna frothing

Date: 11 November 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Women devotees were seen standing in frothing waters of Yamuna river during the Chhath puja celebration in Delhi.

 

Background

Yamuna is one of the major rivers of northern India and is the biggest tributary of Ganges river. It is also considered one of the most polluted rivers.

 

Details

  • Froth is a phenomenon in which decomposing organic matter produces foam, which floats on the surface of water.

  • These foam bubbles are lighter than water, so they float on the surface as a thin film that gradually accumulates.

  • They are formed as a result of untreated or poorly treated effluents of sewage that joins the river from multiple drains of the city.

  • The major causative agents responsible for frothing include surfactants and phosphates from detergents in households and industrial laundry.

 

Reasons for froth

  • The pollutants in the river are not diluted as the flow of river is very lean during this part of the year. Foaming agents are concentrated.

  • The water falling from height causes the surfactants and foaming agents present in the waste water on the river bed to get agitated, forming foam.

 

Effects of froth

  • Short-term exposure can lead to skin irritation and allergies in people. If consumed, these chemicals may cause gastrointestinal problems.

  • Long term exposure to heavy metals in industrial pollutants can develop neurological issues and hormonal imbalances.

 

Measures to prevent frothing

  • Authorities have banned the sale, storage and transportation of soaps and detergents not adhering to the quality standards.

  • Waste-water treatment plants have to be upgraded to meet global standards.

  • A continuous natural flow has to be maintained in the river to prevent accumulation of toxic elements.

 

Pollution in Yamuna

The stretch between Wazirabad and Okhla in Delhi accounts for around 80 per cent of the pollution load in the river.