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80 Million People Made to Drink Sewage in Vraja, India

By: for ISKCON News on May 25, 2012
World News
Photo Credits: Filip Cargonja
The river Yamuna is one of the two biggest rivers which flow through the world’s largest river basin -- The Ganga river Basin. This basin area is approximately 1,086,000 square kilometers and has a population of 500 million. This area is also the land to one of the most ancient civilization known.

As part of a timeless civilization, the river Yamuna, other than being a traditional water resource, is also a cultural icon and is worshipped as a goddess in Indian culture. A little inquiry into ancient Indian scriptures, rituals, art forms, traditional vocation, festivities or even the National Anthem shall vividly bring forward the esteem and glory that this grand River holds, even in present times. In Hinduism, many begin their day by chanting the glories of River Yamuna and any prayer to Lord Almighty is considered incomplete without salutations to the river. The river Yamuna is considered to be a favorite of Lord Himself so much so in thousands of temples of North India; the Deities are bathed daily with its waters. Many temple towns are situated along its banks that have their characters based on the river and its religious tourism, the most famous being Vrindavan, Mathura, Agra and Gokul.

However, it was unknown to the annual 80 million pilgrims and local residents of these towns alongside the river, who bathe and drink its water with faith and devotion, that what flows now in the river bed is actually nothing more than a mixture of domestic sewage and industrial effluents -- without one drop of original natural fresh water of the river.

The ecological impact has been immense. The aquatic wildlife has been disappearing as fishes, turtles, alligators and others dependant on fresh river water have been dying in the toxic industrial pollutants and sewage. The world famous Taj Mahal situated on its banks is also under a threat. Architects fear that a dried-out Yamuna river bed would weaken the wood-based foundation of the Taj Mahal, which requires moisture.

People's health has been affected by regularly contracting water borne diseases.

Some more facts:

• Almost, 97% of river Yamuna's natural fresh water is taken away after a few kilometers of its source (total river length being 1375 km). The rest of the water dries up within the next 15 kilometers. The river is dead. Not a drop of original river water remains in the river bed after that point. What remains is only human, industrial and agricultural waste, the sacred river transforms into an open flow of sewage.

• The withdrawal of water is made in the name of irrigation, industrial development. The water supply has been grossly mismanaged with little or no accountability.

• What flows beyond Delhi and is found in Vraja Vrindavan is simply partially treated sewage of the Shahdra drain of Delhi and other smaller drains.

• Millions of religious/spiritual tourist visit three important temple towns after Delhi on River Yamuna every year. Up until now, none of them has realized that what they have been taking their ritual baths in, is not sacred water, but poisonous sewage. Their spiritual emotions and faith are being disrespected. There is another 60 million of people depend on the river for bathing and drinking water.

ISKCON's Governing Body Commission has made a resolution to join the Save Yamuna campaign.

Anyone who supports the cause, is requested to sign the petition on this link:

http://www.saveyamuna.org/sign-yamuna-petition




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