Not ice but blobs of toxic foam

At first glance, they look like sheets of ice, but do not be deceived - these white blobs are toxic foam covering the surface of India's Yamuna River in New Delhi.

The main reason for the froth is the high phosphate content in the waste water that gets discharged into the river, an official of the Central Pollution Control Board told the Press Trust of India.

The waste water contains detergents used in dyeing industries and households, which contribute to the high phosphate content.

The water then reaches the river through untapped drains. When more water is released upstream, it falls from a height on reaching the Okhla barrage, a dam that runs across the river, resulting in large amounts of foam being created.

The official added that to resolve this, every household has to be connected to the sewer network to allow treatment of the waste water.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2020, with the headline 'Not ice but blobs of toxic foam'. Print Edition | Subscribe