Aerial image of farms along River Yamuna near Majnu Ka Tila downstream of Wazirabad barrage.
If we are what we eat, and some of what we eat comes from farming on the Yamuna River floodplains, then we are pretty much what the status of river Yamuna in Delhi is! The vegetables and produce grown on the banks of the Yamuna river in Delhi is largely irrigated by the river water which accumulate all toxic chemicals from the water into them. When we consume these vegetables, these chemicals and toxins enter our body and keep on accumulating before they cause any serious damage to our organs. Unfortunately, when you go to the market, there is no real way of telling which vegetable comes from the Yamuna floodplain and which from elsewhere.
This World Water Day 2011, we therefore urge you to think about the status of River Yamuna, and think about yourself and your health, and the health of your family, and take suitable steps to conserve water, keep yourself informed and become an alert and more responsible citizen. Come take the Be Water Wise Pledge at Stall No. 7, Dilli Haat, Pitampura, Delhi. You can also take the “BE WATER WISE” pledge online!
- I will not waste water
- I will REUSE discarded R.O. water
- I will REDUCE flushing into the Yamuna
- I will respect the water (RE)CYCLE
- I will work to save our Wetlands
- I will spread this message of water conservation
Detailed explanation of each of the pledge points:
- I will not waste water: The rapidly urbanizing Delhi city is facing a major water challenge today, which aggravates each summer and haunts both the citizens and governments alike. At the same time, a large majority of the population in the city does not receive either adequate water or good quality potable water. In such a situation, it is no less than criminal to waste water that is supplied across Delhi. It becomes a moral and ethical responsibility of every citizen to conserve water.
- I will REUSE discarded R.O. water: Reverse Osmosis (R.O.) systems as a household water purification technology is gaining popularity across Delhi. Such is the trend that people living in areas where which do not require an R.O. system are also turning to this technology as a second method of water treatment after the first treatment by the Delhi Jal Board. The reject R.O. water, which is almost six times the water that you see in you R.O. device, usually goes to the drain. This water can be collected and reused for gardening and other non-potable purposes.
- I will REDUCE flushing into the Yamuna: Every flush in Delhi city is connected to River Yamuna which is also the lifeline of the city. Each time you flush, another few liters of waste water are added to the treatment load of the anyways overloaded sewage treatment plants. It is therefore important that we use the flush wisely and install only the modern flushes which enable selective flushing of the amount of water actually needed. Else, follow the youth, put a brick in your flush tank!
- I will respect the water RE(CYCLE): The water cycle, also known as the hydrological cycle or H2O cycle, describes the continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth. The water cycle gets disrupted when we block any of the zones of this cycle. In Delhi, since the past few months, a crunch is space and the ‘plastic’ mindset is making citizens concretize their back and front yard, and making the municipal authorities concretize walkways, footpaths etc. in such a manner that it is obstructing the flow of water into the ground. This not only prevents ground water recharge but also affects the Water Cycle. It is therefore very important that every citizen understand this and allow as much land area open as possible.
- I will work to save our Wetlands: A wetland is an area of land whose soil is saturated with moisture either permanently or seasonally. Wetlands are also called the kidneys of nature as they have natural cleansing properties. By retaining sediments and toxic pollutants attached to the sediments, healthy wetlands help clean the environment. The Delhi Climate Action Plan lists hundreds of wetlands in Delhi that are degrading and need to be restored with immediate effect. As a citizen of Delhi, it becomes the responsibility of each one of us to find out these wetlands around us and work with the local authorities in cleaning and maintaining them.
- I will spread the message of water conservation: Change begins only with each one of us and environmental awareness can only spread when each one of us talk and discuss issues that are critical to our health and well being. The situation of the environment today is such that individual actions will only work when they inspire others to join in in the mighty task of keeping our surroundings clean and our water free from toxins. This World Water Day, let us all pledge to ensure Delhi’s sustainability by spreading the message of water conservation to each and every citizen of Delhi!
BE WATER WISE: For Delhi and the world, let us save water while we still can.
With inputs from Govind Singh | Image by Govind Singh