Water pollution in India

Water in India is dying. Pure water is the pillar for the growth of the economy. Unfortunately, less than 50 percent of the Indian population has access to clean water. When the water in rivers, oceans, lakes, and so on gets contaminated by impure pollutants. It is called water pollution.

Moreover, these pollutants can seep through the ground and reach underground water. This will degrade the water quality and there won’t be a single drop to drink. The most polluted rivers of the world include Indian rivers like The Ganga and The Yamuna.

Condition of India

Indian population is increasing rapidly and the country is modernizing. Many new industries are being developed and the waste produced by them is also increasing. Very little of this waste gets treated in a proper manner.

70 percent of water is contaminated in India and unfit for drinking. Drinking toxic water disrupts the digestive system and causes diseases. Every year, almost 1 million children die due to diarrhea. 

A study in India has revealed that due to polluted water there has been a 9% reduction in the revenue and 16% of agricultural yields have dropped. 

Scientists have predicted that if the current ways of treating water continue, the situation will get worse and by 2030 only 40 percent of the population will be able to have pure water to drink.

Causes of water pollution in India

Industrial waste, a cause of water pollution

Chemical discharges from the factories, industrial waste is directly thrown in the waterways.

Rural people throw the dishwash waste, laundry waste, garbage and so much more.

It is another reason for water contamination in rivers and lakes.

Whenever oil spills from ships or tanks into the water, since oil doesn’t dissolve in water, it becomes a thick layer on the sea or ocean water. This causes water pollution. 

When the pollutants are carried from some other places to water sources it is called the indirect cause of water pollution. These pollutants can be any kind of garbage carried by rain or air and dropped into water sources.

Effects of water pollution


When people drink polluted water, they fall sick. They can get life-threatening diseases like hepatitis, cholera, typhoid, or any other water-borne disease. 

Degradation of ecosystem

In the ecosystem simple and small changes can cause an impact on the environment. Our ecosystem is very fragile. If it is unchecked, the whole ecosystem of an area can collapse.   

Harmful for aquatic life

Some plants and animals might get affected due to water pollution.

If somehow, they manage to accommodate themselves in the polluted water, humans can fall sick as they take in toxins and pollutants along with these species whenever they eat them.

Impact on agriculture

The water used by farmers to grow crops is kept very clean. Due to polluted water bodies, farmers can’t use that water which leads to scarcity of water. 

Even if the farmers use that water, it can ruin the quality and nutritional value of crops or even cause diseases to humans who would eat those crops. 

Yamuna river: Case study of a polluted river

Polluted Yamuna River
Source of image: Indian express 

The Yamuna River is the most essential river for north India. It flows through Uttarakhand, Haryana, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh. But now it is the most polluted river. 

Some days it is covered under a thick detergent-like foam. On other days there are ashes, chemicals, and faces in the river.

The river is full of hyacinth—a weed. This is an example of eutrophication. Sometimes we also find dead fishes in the river due to the increase in pollutants.

Industrial waste from small and big industries is also dumped in the river. It is so surprising that Delhi consists of only 2% of the catchment area yet it is responsible for 80% of water pollution.

Steps taken by the Indian Government to reduce water pollution

India is taking many steps to reduce water pollution and to improve the quality of water. Indian startups have started reusing industrial wastewater.

A water company of Chennai, VA Tech Wabag also built several water reuse plants all across India. It has impacted millions of people positively. 

By implementation of a combination of techniques, VA Tech Wabag installed a water treatment plant in Panjrapur, Maharashtra.

The government launched the reuse of wastewater policy in Gujarat. This policy aims to decrease the use of water from the Narmada River. 161 sewage treatment plants will be installed in Gujarat so that industrial and construction sectors can use the treated water.

In Karnataka, the government installed almost 16,000 reverse osmosis systems in 2015 and 281 solar electrolytic defluoridation plants in Madhya Pradesh.

The Government of India has been focusing on implementing and revamping the National Rural Drinking Water Programme. UNICEF is playing a vital role as it is the ‘development partner of choice’.

Swajal is a programme launched by the ministry of Jal shakti. The aim of this programme is to provide safe and clean drinking water to rural people through sustainable techniques. UNICEF has provided technical assistance and support to the ministry in this programme. 

What can we do to reduce water pollution?

Many reports have revealed that by 2030 the availability of clean drinking water will reduce and the future generation will suffer. Today we should all do our bit to conserve water and reduce water pollution. Use water cautiously because every drop is essential.

Do not pollute water by throwing waste. Dispose off the garbage properly. Reuse the water. Industrial waste should also be treated properly. We all can save aquatic and human life by taking small precautionary measures. 

By Ishita

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