Life goes on at dying river

Seagulls continue to flock to the Yamuna River in New Delhi despite the river's polluted waters.

The 1,376km river, which is highly venerated in Hinduism and worshipped as goddess Yamuna, originates from the Yamunotri glacier in the lower Himalayas.

For the first 400km of its life, the river glistens blue and teems with life. And then, it reaches Delhi.

In India's crowded capital, the entire Yamuna is siphoned off for human and industrial use, and is replenished with toxic chemicals and sewage from more than 20 drains.

For vast stretches, only the most resilient bacteria survive.

A study published last year and reported by the Daily Mail Online revealed that the river has almost "died", and there are no signs of healing. Published in the International Journal of Engineering Sciences and Research Technology, the study said: "Even expensive water treatment technologies are incapable of treating the polluted river water."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2017, with the headline 'Life goes on at dying river'. Print Edition | Subscribe