Ammonia Pollution In Yamuna
- April 17, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Ammonia Pollution In Yamuna
Context- Water supply was disrupted in parts of Delhi once again when ammonia levels in the Yamuna river remained high on Saturday, according to the Delhi Jal Board (DJB).
What is Ammonia and what are its effects?
- Ammonia is a colourless gas and is used as an industrial chemical in the production of fertilizers, plastics, synthetic fibres, dyes and other products. Its chemical formula is NH3.
- Ammonia occurs naturally in the environment from the breakdown of organic waste matter, and may also find its way to ground and surface water sources through industrial effluents or through contamination by sewage.
- Ammonia reduces the amount of oxygen in water as it is transformed to oxidised forms of nitrogen. Hence, it also increases Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD).
- If the concentration of ammonia in water is above 1 ppm it is toxic to fishes.
- In humans, long term ingestion of water having ammonia levels of 1 ppm or above may cause damage to internal organs.
A cause of concern:
- The concentration of ammonia in the river was 4 ppm (parts per million), seven times the level of around 1 ppm that the Delhi Jal Board’s water treatment plants (WTPs) can process.
- The acceptable maximum limit of ammonia in drinking water, as per the Bureau of Indian Standards, is 0.5 ppm.
Where does Ammonia come from?
- Ammonia is produced for commercial fertilizers and other industrial applications.
- Natural sources of ammonia include the decomposition or breakdown of organic waste matter, gas exchange with the atmosphere, forest fires, animal and human waste, and nitrogen fixation processes.
How is it treated?
- The DJB at present does not have any specific technology to treat ammonia.
- The only solution it adapts is to reduce production at its water treatment plants.
- In addition to this, the board mixes raw water that carries a high concentration of ammonia with a fresh supply.
- The amount of chlorine added to disinfect raw water is also increased when high levels of ammonia are detected.
What is the long-term solution to the problem?
- Ozone-based units to treat ammonia levels up to 4 ppm should be installed at Water Treatment Plants.
- Stringent implementation of guidelines against dumping harmful waste into the river, and making sure untreated sewage does not enter the water are two things pollution control bodies are expected to do.
- But, a more organic method agreed upon by environmentalists and experts is to maintain a sustainable minimum flow, called the ecological flow.
- This is the minimum amount of water that should flow throughout the river at all times to sustain underwater and estuarine ecosystems and human livelihoods, and for self-regulation.
- The lack of a minimum ecological flow also means an accumulation of other pollutants.
About Yamuna River:
- The river Yamuna, a major tributary of river Ganges, originates from the Yamunotri glacier near Bandarpoonch peaks in the Mussoorie range of the lower Himalayas in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand.
- It meets the Ganges at the Sangam in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh after flowing through Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi.
- Length: 1376 km
- Important Tributaries: Chambal, Sindh, Betwa, Ken, Tons, Hindon.