High levels of ammonia in Yamuna waters
- River Yamuna is the largest tributary of River Ganga.
- It originates near Yamunotri glacier in western Uttarakhand.
- Near Dehradun, the Yamuna is joined by its biggest tributary, the Tons River. The Chambal River is Yamuna’s biggest tributary on the right. Other important tributaries of the Yamuna include the Hindon, Sarda and Giri rivers on the right and Betwa and Sindh on the left.
- Near Allahabad, after a course of about 1,376 km, the Yamuna joins the Ganga River.
- The river, however, has become one of the most-polluted in India, because so much of its course is through extremely densely populated areas where vast quantities of sewage have been discharged directly into it.
Ammonia as a water pollutant
- Ammonia is a colorless, pungent gaseous compound of hydrogen and nitrogen that is highly soluble in water.
- When ammonia is present in water at high enough levels, it is difficult for aquatic organisms to sufficiently excrete the toxicant, leading to toxic buildup in internal tissues and blood, and potentially death.
Sources of Ammonia
- Natural sources are decomposition or breakdown of organic waste matter, gas exchange with the atmosphere, forest fires, animal and human waste, and nitrogen fixation processes.
- But a huge amount of ammonia is added when industrial effluents are discharged into waters. Surface run water from the farms carry a lot of ammonia coming from fertilisers.
Why in the news?
- In the last week of October 2020, River Yamuna experienced high levels of ammonia concentration.
- The levels went more than 6 times of the accepted levels. Ammonia levels had reached 3 parts per million (ppm) in raw Yamuna water. The acceptable level of ammonia is 0.5 ppm.
View all comments