Devotees went for a traditional bath to mark the Karthik Purnima religious ceremony celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu calendar month of Karthik
- Images of the foam-coated river show the extent of the pollution of the Yamuna around New Delhi
- Indian government has spent nearly £200 million trying to clean up the ‘dead river‘
At first glance these beautiful images appear to show a frozen river caked in fresh snow.But these photographs actually reveal the shocking extent of pollution of the Yamuna River in India that has caused a thick layer of foam to completely cover it.Parts of the Yamuna are now described as a ‘dead river’ meaning the pollution level is so bad that there is not enough oxygen in it for fish or other marine life to survive.
Taking a bubble bath: A Hindu devotee offers prayers after a dip in the Yamuna River,
surrounded by industrial waste, during the religious Karthik Purnima ceremony in
New Delhi, India
Diving in: This Hindu doesn’t seem to mind the foam caused by industrial and residential
Taking a dip: Hindus traditionally bath rivers to offer their prayers as part of the
Kartik Poornima ceremony
But that didn’t stop one devoted Hindu going for an industrial bubble bath to mark the Karthik Purnima religious ceremony celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu calendar month of Karthik.Other worshippers can be seen making their way through the foam on small wooden boats or carrying out prayers by the water’s edge.The images show poor water quality of the Yamuna despite efforts by the Indian government to rectify the situation. India has spent almost £200 million on unsuccessful schemes to clean the river, which is revered by Hindus and still plays an important role in many religious ceremonies.Most of the pollution is centered around Delhi where 18 drains dump 600 million gallons of sewage in the river every year.As well as industrial waste from local factories, locals also wash their clothes and utensils in the river.
Field of ice: At first glance, it appears these Hindus are crossing a frozen river
Steady now: Worshipers make their way to shore after travelling across the
foam-coated Yamuna river
Fireside: Groups of Hindus light candles and small fires by the side of the river as
part of the ceremony
A 600km stretch of the river surrounding Delhi has been declared dead – similar to the Thames 55 years ago before efforts were made to clean it up.The Yamuna’s polluted stretch was about 500km – from Wazirabad in Delhi to Juhika in Uttar Pradesh – according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)’s 2010 data. But latest data show the pollution now starts from Panipat in Haryana, almost 100km upstream of Wazirabad.Scientists have also recently raised concerns about the risks of the river infecting food produce grown nearby with an insecticide called Lindane, widely used in mosquito repellents.If not washed properly before being cooked, the chemical can remain in the vegetables and fruits grown on the river’s floodplains and enter the human body.Residents of settlements along the river who use the contaminated water for washing, cooking, bathing and drinking, continue to be susceptible to diseases.
Devoted: A Hindu covered in foam lights incense sticks after going for a swim in the
Earlier this month, Hindus performed rituals during Chhath, an ancient Hindu festival
popular amongst the working class, to thank the Sun God for sustaining life on earth
Polluted: Several million tonnes of sewerage are dumped into the Yamuna every day
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