Toxic Yamuna veggies on your menu: Health fears over river bank vegetables contaminated with sewage water
Source: Mail Today, Date: , 2013
and vegetables sold by the wayside along the Yamuna may look fresh, tempting
and cheaper - but the truth behind their freshness could make you throw up.
For, they are grown on the river bank using water flushed down the toilets.
study conducted by three associate professors of Deen Dayal Upadhyay College in
Delhi University shows that the amount of fecal matter in river water has
increased exponentially since the Central Pollution Control Board came out with
its findings in 2009. The amount of Fecal coliform (FC) â€“ bacteria available in
human and animal feces â€“ has grown by as much as 30 times as compared to CPCB
presence of FC indicates that the water is contaminated with human or animal
waste, which makes its way to the river through millions of litres of untreated
sewage water every day. Though veggies grown on Yamuna bed in east and south
Delhi are already known to have high metal content, FC content in food can
bring you down with severe intestinal problems.
bacteria found in Yamuna water can cause blood infections, stomach upsets and
year-long study was started last June with a plan to collect and test samples
from the river every three months. According to tests done in December, the
value of FC found at Nizamuddin Bridge was 9.3 crore per 100 millilitres of
Barrage had the least fecal content at a value of 5.2 crore per 100
millilitres. The FC value earlier reported by CPCB was 57 lakh to 30 lakh per
comes from sewage which is dumped straight into the Yamuna and most people do
not realise the impact of this on their health. The value of dissolved oxygen
(DO) is also zero at most places in the river which means no life can survive
in the water.
quality of water is better when the river reaches Delhi at Palla," said
Vinod Kumar, associate professor, department of chemistry at Deen Dayal
Upadhyay College, who did the study with Dr Mahaveer and Dr Rajkumari Sanamaiya
from the chemistry and botany departments.
said the only life available in the Yamuna is water hyacinth, which was
introduced a few years ago to absorb contaminants.
water, which is no better than sewage water now, is also used to grow or wash
vegetables and fruits at the mandis, from where they are sent to different
parts of the city.
stock vegetables grown along the Yamuna using the river water. For instance,
vegetables from Okhla mandi come from areas near Okhla barrage and vegetables
from Wazirabad goes to Azadpur mandi. FC is known to be going up as sewage from
different parts of Delhi go directly into Yamuna. It peaks after the Nizamuddin
bridge," said Ravi Aggarwal, founder, Toxics Link.
mandi caters to south Delhi, Faridabad and even Gurgaon markets. Doctors warn
it's important to wash all vegetables, especially the leafy ones, to make sure
the bacteria does not play with your stomach.
of such contaminated food can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, gastroenteritis, blood
infection, dehydration, urinary infection and kidney dysfunction. We have
indeed seen increasing number of such cases recently," said Dr Anoop
Misra, director, Fortis C-Doc Centre for Internal Medicine, Vasant Kunj.
vegetables should be repeatedly washed and then cooked. Raw vegetables should
be avoided," he added. In fact, the guavas and red radishes sold by the
roadside in east Delhi are washed in the Yamuna water.
go to Nizamuddin or Geeta Colony area where people are seen buying these
vegetables. People eat them raw though cooking can kill FC to quite an
extent," said Kumar, whose study will conclude in May, following which it
will be presented to the university.
team, which also included 10 students, tested the samples on parameters like
bicarbonate, total hardness, pH, alkanity, conductivity, nitrate, phosphate,
sulphate, chloride, DO, Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), Total Coliform (TC),
FC and heavy metals.
the government is planning to lay down an integrated sewer system to prevent
sewage water from flowing into the Yamuna, work is yet to start. There are 22
drains flowing directly into the river including 18 major drains and four
drains from Agra and Gurgaon.
to an expert committee appointed by the SC, the total installed sewage
treatment capacity in Delhi is 2,460 million litres per day (MLD) as against
the sewage generation of about 3,800 MLD.
to the committee's report, 1,360 million litres of sewage water flowed into the
river per day, mainly from Najafgarh drain.