Can we do our bit to save the heritage? Swechha organizes Yamuna Shramdaan in Delhi

Yamuna, according to Indian mythology, is the daughter of Sun God and sister of Yama (god of death). It travels 375 Km from Himalayas before reaching Wazirabad in Delhi and the water is considered reasonably good in terms of quality. After Wazirabad till Okhla 15 drains discharge waste water rendering the river severly polluted. Rapid urbanization, huge number of industries and improper waste management are the major cause of this pollution. Religious practices and house hold waste also add to the river’s misery.

The misery of Yamuna - Mythical India

Various researches have shown that the quality of water is as poor as sewage water in some parts of the Yamuna which has left the river almost dead. Millions of rupees have been spent on waste treatment and cleaning up the river without any significant improvement. Few NGOs and organizations are still trying to make an impact and contribute to the cause.

Today, on a foggy Sunday morning at 9 am, when half of Delhi was still asleep, an assembly of nearly a thousand young citizens arrived at the Kudsia Ghat of river Yamuna opposite the Kashmiri Gate Inter-state bus terminus. Swechha India was organizing the “Yamuna Shramdaan” event which had invited volunteers, students, citizens from across the state to come join the movement to clean the river. Mythical India was there to support the initiative.

Yamuna Shramdaan organised by Sweccha - Mythical India
Yamuna Shramdaan organised by Swechha

Many schools, college bodies, volunteers had responded to the call of Swechha in contributing their bit to the initiative. UN Volunteers and NDTV Special projects also pledged their support for the program. Event started with pulling out the waste from the water and collecting it on the bank. Then human chains were formed to pass the garbage to the municipal truck parked outside. The trash had garlands, statues of Indian gods, plastic, clothes, industrial waste and what not. Looking at the dump it gave a feeling that a sewer has been cleaned and not the Yamuna.

The waste taken out after cleaning Yamuna - Mythical India

The human chain formed to clean the Yamuna - Mythical India
The human chain formed to clean Yamuna

One of the members of Swechha, Gaurav said, “We had not expected this much turn out and were anticipating a crowd of 500 but this is nearly double. This is amazing and gives us confidence to continue what we do. We have other projects in pipeline for Delhi.” A volunteer who regularly takes part in such events of this NGO explained about her art installation (in the picture below),

Mother nature is smiling and saying; if you give me tin, I will give you flowers of tin

The flowers made of Tin placed at Yamuna riverbed - Mythical India

Along with the cleaning, tree saplings were also planted. The event took forward the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan by cleaning some part of the river and was also a success in spreading awareness among youth. Mythical India appreciates the effort and would encourage our community of readers to support such initiatives by taking part in their capacity and spreading awareness.

The statue of Indian goddess recovered during cleaning - Mythical India
The statue of an Indian goddess recovered during cleaning of Yamuna

In the race to industrialization and urbanization, we have forgotten the nature and Yamuna is just one example. According to a report Central Pollution Control Board, no river in India is clean for its whole length. These issues will have far reaching consequences if the society doesn’t wake up in time.

Yamuna drain - Mythical India

Header image

Uttarayan, the Kite festival – A true symbol of colorful and vibrant India

Final header image, Kashmiri Pundits - Mythical India

January 19, 1990: An eternal blot on “Secular” India