The Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan (a citizens' forum to protect the river Yamuna) has sent a letter to the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (Nairobi), Achim Steiner. The letter hopes to help confine the adverse environmental impact of hosting an international sporting event, namely the 2010 Commonwealth Games, to be held in Delhi.
The United Nations Environment Programme had recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian Olympic Association. This was for a "green" Commonwealth Games.
Says Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan convener Manoj Misra: "The river is the lifeline of Delhi and is under considerable environmental stress with all the construction activities that is planned on the riverbed for hosting the Commonwealth Games."
Misra stated that the Commonwealth Games was not just a sporting event but a mega event with which was associated national prestige. This necessitated massive infrastructural constructions, often at the cost of the natural environment of the host cities, he added.
"With the signing of the MoU it is hoped that at least now the site for the Games Village would be relocated out of the river bed. For in the absence of such a move any talk of a 'green' Commonwealth Games in Delhi would be hollow talk. We hope that the good name of your organization would not be allowed to be sullied by association with an act which is environmentally unsound", read the letter.
Delhi alone gives around 3,296 million liters per day of sewage by virtue of drains emptying into the Yamuna. This exceeds that of all the Class two cities of India put together. The low perennial flow in Yamuna coupled with huge quantity of waste it receives have given it the dubious fame of being one of the most polluted rivers of the country.