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Issue 36
, 2012
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Quietly flows the dirty, poisonous Yamuna

Source: Hindustan Times, Date: , 2020

Have you felt nausea, difficulty in breathing, headache or dizziness while crossing the Yamuna on your way to work or while returning home?

If yes, then it is a good time to visit a doctor and get yourself examined for an infection of the upper respiratory tract. The highly polluted water, mostly sewage, that flows into the river release highly toxic gases which are a serious health hazard to anybody coming in direct contact with them.  
Noxious gases such as ammonia and hydrogen sulphide emanated by the Yamuna are poisoning the air for people living around the river belt.

Health experts said Yamuna, in Delhi, is a little different from highly-polluted drain. The gravity of the problem can be gauged from the fact that one does not need scientific instrument to detect the presence of these gases as anybody breathing near the river's can smell the poisonous gases.

"These gases are released by the sewage which is dumped into the river from across the city. The river is no better than a sewer now. Both ammonia and hydrogen sulphide are extremely toxic and can pose grave health problems for the people living around the water," said Ravi Agarwal, founder director, Toxics Link, a Delhi-based NGO working for clean environment.

Hospitals and nursing homes situated near the river cater to a regular stream of patients suffering from various upper respiratory tract infections.

"We get about 10-15 people suffering from bronchitis, aggravated asthma, interstitial lung disease and diseases of the upper respiratory tract each month. Though it is difficult to tell the exact cause as it may vary from case to case, environmental pollution could be a major contributor," said a doctor at Jeevan Anmol Hospital in Mayur Vihar, Phase-I.

"I have been experiencing difficulty in breathing for the past few years. I do not know the reason, but I have a feeling the pollution has taken its toll on me," said YC Wadehera, 78, a resident of Mayur Vihar, Phase-II.

Dr Rukamani Nair, medical superintendent of an alternate therapy hospital, Bapu Nature Cure Hospital and Yogashram, in Mayur Vihar, Phase-I also claimed that two in 20 people who visit the hospital every day have symptoms of nose, throat and lung infection.

"Pollution is obviously a leading cause for these diseases. We run a very busy OPD and treat people using natural therapy and yoga," she said.