Agra, Nov 22 (IANS) River activists on Sunday removed tons of garbage and immersed idols of Hindu gods and goddesses from the Yamuna river bed at the Etmauddaula view point park.
Environmentalist Devashish Bhattacharya said, "After a series of festivals, it had become necessary to remove the POP idols and 'puja samagri' containing toxins and polythene. People do not realize they were only adding the pollution load in the river."
The programme convener Jugal Kishor Pandit said, "Thousands of idols have been littered all over the place. We are trying in our small ways to clean up the river bed."
Activist Padmini Iyer said the health of the Yamuna river was crucial for the safety of the Taj Mahal and other Mughal monuments along its banks.
A few months after the Monsoon rains, the Yamuna in Agra presents a dismal profile of a sewage canal, with effluents and sewer waste from upstream cities flowing unchecked.
Adding to the pollution load are the hundreds of big and small drains of the city. The Agra Municipal Corporation environment-engineer Rajiv Rathi said, "There are 61 drains opening into the Yamuna. The NGT had directed us to tap the drains discharging waste into the river. We have so far 29 drains. As a temporary measure, we have initiated bioremediation and phytoremediation processes to treat the waste from 57 drains. Check dams were also being developed over some drains."