(New Delhi, India) On Monday, the Yamuna, one of India’s holiest rivers, was covered in toxic foam, adding to the ailments of New Delhi residents who are already drowning in the dense fog of pollution that surrounds the Indian capital.
The Yamuna, a tributary of the Ganges, is already one of the most polluted rivers in the country, and white foam clusters piled up as it passed through Delhi on Monday.
Local officials last week blamed the upstream on “substantial wastewater and industrial waste.”
Pollution did not prevent Hindu worshipers from drowning in the river to celebrate the four-day Sat Puja festival, with prayers in the sun.
But the incident disrupted water supply in one area of the city, not mentioning how many homes were affected, according to local officials.
“I would like to thank the affected residents for their cooperation,” Raghav Saada, deputy chairman of the city’s water supply authority, said in a statement on Sunday. “Our team of managers and engineers is working day and night to alleviate the suffering of the people in Delhi regarding water.”
Authorities have long promised to clean up the Yamuna, to no avail, and episodes of toxic foam are repeated every year.
By 2020, the government report estimates that river water quality has “seriously” deteriorated over the past five years.
The Indian capital and its environs have been gripped by simultaneous dense toxic fog since last week.
New Delhi is one of the most polluted cities on the planet, with both toxic gases emitted from industry and road traffic and agricultural burns that fill the air every winter. They were joined by illegal firecrackers that exploded last week on the Hindu festival of Diwali.
The amount of PM2.5 particles – the finest and most hazardous particles of air pollution – in many places exceeds 400, which is 16 times higher than the World Health Organization’s recommended safety limit for health.