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Delhi's dying lifeline

  • Story Highlights
  • The Yamuna is a holy river in Hindu and provides water for 60 million people
  • New Delhi contributes more than 3,500 million liters of waste per day to the Yamuna
  • Swechha organizes monthly Yamuna cleanup drives, attended by more than 1000 children in December
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By Vimlendu Jha for CNN
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NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Vimlendu Jha is the founder and head of Swechha -- We For Change Foundation which is based in India's capital, New Delhi.

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"The Yamuna is dying -- consuming 3,500 million liters of waste every single day."

Swechha started out as an organization to combat the pollution of the city's main waterway, the river Yamuna. Today it deals with the environmental issues that affect several aspects of Delhi.

Vimlendu leads volunteers and local children to key sites around the city to tackle the ecological problems, as well as to raise awareness of the issues. Follow his efforts in his blogs and video diaries.

January 3, 2008
The river Yamuna supports the water needs of 60 million people. Delhi alone depends on it for 70% of its drinking water. Hindu Mythology renders it one of only 7 holy rivers in India -- the immersion of idols during Dushera demonstrating this.

It would be reasonable to say that the Yamuna has been pivotal in framing the socio-economic, cultural and religious fabric of Northern India.

And it is also reasonable in saying that the Yamuna is dying -- consuming 3,500 million liters of waste every single day. The effect: Severe shortages of water, with 40% of Delhi receiving only 14-20 liters a day. For reference, 14-20 liters is the water spent with every flush of the toilet.

No, we are not asking people to stop flushing. But we are asking them to understand the seriousness of the situation and start acting now.

To take this campaign a step forward, we organized a Yamuna Cleanup drive on December 7. The idea was to clean up a portion of the river. It was attended by more than 1,000 children and youths from various parts of the city and the event was widely covered by the press.

There was also a Signature Campaign that will ultimately be a petition to the government, pressing the need for action. ADVAITA, a talented and upcoming musical band is one of the supporters of this cause and they performed on the river during the Shramdaan. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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