File Photo: A rag-picker searches for valuables in Yamuna river. (Press Trust of India)
Individuals caught throwing waste items and "religious items" in Yamuna in Delhi will be fined Rs 5,000, the National Green Tribunal has announced. The announcement is in line with the Centre's fresh efforts to clean up the Ganga.
The Tribunal maintains the dumping of waste in Delhi is one of the reasons why the river is being choked up.
The sight of people throwing waste and dry flowers into the water is a common one the bridges across the river in Delhi.
To stop the practice, the erstwhile Sheila government had erected barriers on the two key bridges - at Nizamuddin and ITO. But the project had come under flak, with critics saying that the expenditure involved was far more than the results accrued.
"In case of the barriers, there was no follow-up. If implemented properly, this law can be a wonderful instrument to help clean up the river," said river activist Manoj Mishra.
If some people are fined and the news is highlighted it would act as a deterrent, he said. What would also help is that there is a special committee to follow up on this matter and they are to submit quarterly progress reports, Mr Mishra added.
The river, which flows through Mathura, Vrindavan and Agra, is choked with accumulated garbage and industrial effluents. The pollutants, discharged by industrial clusters upstream of Delhi, have wreaked havoc on the river's ecosystem.
But the absence of any effective efforts to clean up Yamuna had drawn fire from activists, who have planned to stage protests in Delhi from February 1.
The Yamuna Action Plan which has been in place since 1993 and is being implemented with the help of Japan, has not met with much success.