The Ganga’s greatest tributary, the Yamuna, flows from Uttarakhand’s 6,387-metre Yamunotri glacier. It enters the Ganga at Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, after 1,376 miles across five states. The Delhi-Agra section of the river is filthy. However, it now faces risks upstream as well.
The Yamuna flows through Uttarakhand, Haryana, UP, Delhi, then back into UP. MPD’s goals are ambitious, but the Yamuna, the Ganga’s second-largest tributary, won’t improve until all states cease pollution problems, restrict mechanised sand and gravel mining, and rewrite the interstate water-sharing contract in 2024.
Importance of Sand
Sand is an important part of our lives. It’s the main thing we use to construct buildings. It is used in adhesive, cosmetic products, fibre optic cables, glass, silicon chips, computer systems, and almost every other electronic device in a home. With so much demand, there isn’t enough sand in the world. Sand is made by slow geological activity. Even though there is a lot of desert sand, it can’t be used for building because it is smoothed by the wind and doesn’t stick.
At the moment, no one knows how much sand is being taken out of the ground, where it is being taken out, or what conditions are being used.
Not only the wild animals that live in the Yamuna are in trouble. The people who live near it are going through the same thing. The careless taking of sand out from Yamuna has caused groundwater levels to drop.Extraction for sand had destroyed the ecosystems of rivers and riverbeds all over India. It also said that mining had changed river system flood plains and the wildlife that lived there.
Sand mining near Yamuna
In the vicinity of the Yamuna, a five-kilometer radius contains 40–50 screening plants. These wash gravel and sand using groundwater around-the-clock. As a result, the river’s water levels have decreased. Water was once accessible at a depth of 25–30 feet. At this point, finding it at 60 feet is challenging. The tube wells near the region are completely dry. Irrigation and drinking water will become scarce if mining proceeds for the next five years.
At Kanalsi, permission has been given to mine 1,95 million tonnes of sand annually and 6,500 tonnes of sand per day.
In Kanalsi, mining is done openly both during the day and at night, according to Megh Singh, a volunteer of the Yamuna Swachhta Samiti (Yamuna Cleanliness Association). Sand is taken out of the channel’s interior as well as its banks.
Up to a three-meter depth, mining is permitted. But people dig holes that are 18 metres (50–60 ft) deep. In the first two to three years, they mined anywhere they pleased. As a result, numerous agricultural fields were damaged. The executive branch was aware of what was going on. They also occasionally carried out surveys. However, we have not yet observed any judicial measures being taken.
Precautions to be taken
Northern riverine states must restrict sand extraction and stop methane emissions if the Yamuna in Delhi is to have any future. Experts insist that motorized sand mining must be completely prohibited.This is so that machines can dig up more riverbank material than is permitted under mining leases.
The project manager must be able to clean up its act by reusing building materials to ease the strain on resources like sand and make a commitment to utilise only sand that has been lawfully mined. In fact, India requires a comprehensive river legislation that takes into account management of the basin as a whole, sand mining, and riverine ecosystems.