“River Yamuna will never be the same… we have caused enough damage to it”, voiced a 10 year-old on the Yamuna Walk, this Wednesday.
This year’s Grade 5 students are inquiring into “problems arising due to irresponsible sharing of spaces” as a part of their PYP Exhibition. To become more aware of the issues – local with global impact and go deeper into the problems, we went for a ‘Yamuna Walk’ organized by an NGO called Swechha. It was a long bus ride till Wazirabad, (on the junction of Haryana and Delhi) where we halted at a village settled on the banks of river Yamuna. The water was clear; the river was flowing beautifully without much disturbance and one could spot some swans and egrets perching in the water. Students didn’t believe that just before entering the city, the river is so clean and serene.
Our next stoppage was at Najafgarh Barrage where a drain with jet black dirty water was merging into the river. There was white froth floating on the river indicating a dead river where there’s no oxygen left in the river. Students saw how human activities destroyed the source of water and a habitat to many living forms. Our final stoppage was at a Ghaat near Okhla which was extremely filthy and highly polluted. One could see algae and other weeds covering the river. Students were shocked to find out that people still take bath in that water and use it for various religious purposes. It was not just the river but the entire flood-plain which was full of muck and garbage- all created by irresponsible human activities.
The trip turned out to be an eye-opener for many of us who never realized the impact of human acts on water bodies and in turn other living beings. Students began wondering how can we be so irresponsible; who’s going to clean the river now; and who is going to teach the people about the importance of keeping it clean? The answer lies with us- the change has to begin from us!