As Chhath Puja Devotees Choke River Yamuna, Residents Suffer

As Chhath Puja Devotees Choke River Yamuna, Residents Suffer

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Video Editor: Vishal Kumar

As the Chhath Puja devotees slowly make their way from the ghats after completing their rituals, fishermen and residents living near the ghats sigh at the site of all the waste littered in and around the Yamuna river.

Disposable cups, garlands, polythene bags, you name it. It’s all there in the river, despite the government taking measures - like putting up barricades and do’s and don’ts posters - to prevent pollution. The Quint visited Delhi’s Kalindikunj and Kalyanpuri ghats to check on the river pollution levels and the results were deplorable.

“You can see for yourself how dirty it is. No one’s going to clean up after today. People will bring the idols for immersion later and pollute the ghats again. The situation is bad. The river was even drying up yesterday. We requested to get water released from the dam, but the water is really dirty. No one obeys. They won’t learn until they have to clean it up themselves. All the fish have died. There was a fishery business here, but now all the fish have died. 
Bholaghota Ghor, Ghat Supervisor

The matter, however, doesn’t end there.

Purvanchal Samaj, the organising committee of the Kalindikunj Chhath Puja, blamed the Delhi government for the sorry state of the Yamuna river.

“The political parties don’t want to clean it up. So they don’t”, said their president, Awodhish Kumar Singh.

“It’s not that the people pollute the river, it’s the staff who don’t clean it properly.”
Awodhish Kumar Singh, President, Purvanchal Samaj

However, the Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) was spotted cleaning up the Kalindikunj ghat after the Chhath rituals were over. They claimed that they clean the river every year after the puja and will completely remove the waste by the next day.

Caught up in this political blame game, it is the people whose livelihoods depend on the river who suffer. The chemical froth mixed with the disposed waste makes the Yamuna river unfit for consumption or any other use. Apart from that, the littered polythene bags often interfere with the fishing nets, preventing the fishermen from catching whatever fish is left in the river.

“We throw the nets and they get stuck in the waste. Who will you stop? Whoever comes here throws in their waste and leaves. There are no authorities here to stop them. 
Bijan Sahani, Fisherman

Whether it is the ignorance of the people or the lack of stricter measures by the authorities to minimise pollution, the state of the Yamuna river post Chhath puja gets worse with every passing year.

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