High ammonia levels in Yamuna

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High ammonia levels in Yamuna

In the recent few days, water supply has been disrupted once again in some parts of Delhi due to the high level of ‘ammonia’ in the Yamuna River.

According to scientists, the concentration of ‘ammonia’ in the river as on April 16 was 7.4 ppm, almost 7 times the level of ‘1 ppm’ that can be processed by the Delhi Jal Board’s water treatment plants. .

Permissible limit of ammonia in water

The maximum permissible limit of ammonia in drinking water, according to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), is ‘0.5 parts per million’ (Parts Per Million-PPM).

Ammonia:

  • Ammonia is used as an industrial chemical in the production of fertilizers, plastics, synthetic fibers, dyes, and other products.
  • Ammonia is a colorless gas, which is made up of hydrogen and nitrogen. Its liquid state is called ammonium hydroxide.
  • It is an inorganic compound with a pungent odor. It is much lighter than air.
  • Ammonia is produced naturally from the decomposition of organic waste material in the atmosphere.

Contamination

  • Ammonia enters soil and surface water sources through industrial effluents, or sewage contamination. Water becomes toxic to fish when its concentration in water exceeds 1
  • Long-term drinking of water with ammonia levels of 1 ppm or more by humans can damage internal organs.

Causes of Ammonia in Yamuna:

The increasing amount of ammonia in the river Yamuna is due to the discharge of untreated sewage from dye units, distillery waste and contaminants in Panipat and Sonipat districts of Haryana and some un-sewered colonies in this part of the river.

Measures to avoid contamination:

  • The guidelines issued against release of harmful effluents in Yamuna should be strictly implemented.
  • The flow of untreated sewage from factories, drains into Yamuna should be ensured.
  • Sustainable minimum flow, also called ecological flow, must be ensured. This minimum amount of water should always flow throughout the entire stretch of the river to support the aquatic and estuary ecosystems and human livelihood.

Source – The Hindu

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