Toxic Foam in Yamuna River.

10 November 2021.


On November 8, 2021 devotees offered prayers as a part of their four-day Chhath Puja celebrations at the banks of foam-coated Yamuna near Kalindi Kunj. The visuals have worried environmentalists and led political war of words between Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and other state governments.


  • Between Wazirabad and Okhla, Yamuna runs for 22-kilometre.
  • It is less than 2 per cent of its length of 1,370 kilometres between Yamunotri and Allahabad.
  •  But this stretch accounts for 80 per cent of the total pollution load in the river.

What is froth formation?

  • Phenomenon of froth formation takes place on several lakes and streams.
  • These Foam bubbles are produced on the decomposition of organic matter. The foam-producing molecules comprises of two ends.
  • Its one end repels water while another attracts water.
  •  These molecules work to reduce the surface tension on the surface of water. Foam bubbles are lighter as compared to water.
  • Thus, they float on the surface as a thin film and gets accumulated over time.

What are the reasons for froth?

  • Major reason behind froth formation is presence of phosphates and surfactants in untreated sewage generating from Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Phosphates and Surfactants components comprise of 1 percent of the froth, while 99 per cent is air and water.

Sources of pollution causing foam formation

  • Sources of pollution that cause foam formation includes untreated sewage containing soap-detergent particles, organic matter from decomposing vegetation, industrial effluents and presence of filamentous bacteria.
  •  Pollution from paper and sugar industries in Uttar Pradesh travel through Hindon canal is also a major reason of pollution in the Yamuna.

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