From corroding Delhi metro to causing cancer: Holy Yamuna now a poison filled hazard

New Delhi: The Delhi Metro is falling prey to hazardous emissions from the Yamuna.

The toxic gases being emitted by the river are reportedly damaging the air conditioning (AC) system of trains that cross the river daily. As a result, the coaches do not remain cool enough.

“Gases coming out of Yamuna are mostly ammonia and hydrogen sulphide, which is also called sewage gas. While the latter is responsible for corroding the AC compressors, the former has adverse affects on human health,” Avikal Somvanshi, senior researcher (building and habitat) at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), told Firstpost.

 From corroding Delhi metro to causing cancer: Holy Yamuna now a poison filled hazard

Yamuna. PTI

Confirming the fact, a senior officer of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has said that they have noticed increasing corrosion of the condenser joints coatings and leakages of coolant gases.

“Leakage at condenser joints of the AC system has been found in hundreds of coaches that pass Yamuna daily. The trains that run on Line 1 - Dilshad Garden to Rithala (Red Line), Line 3 - Noida City Centre-Dwarka Sector 21 (Blue Line) and Line 4 - Dwarka Sector 21 to Vaishali (Blue Line) – have suffered such damage,” said the official who did not want to be identified.

And this complaint is not one that is isolated to the metro trains. Gas leaks from ACs are a common complaint from people living in houses built in the areas located along the polluted river.

“The problem is not only restricted to metro trains. The prolonged emission of the gases is causing corrosion in the copper wire which circulates coolant gases in the ACs installed in houses located along the Yamuna stretch. In addition, the pollutants also choke inbuilt filters of ACs that reduces its efficiency,” Avikal added.

He further said the emission of refrigerant gas (which mainly consists of hydro-flouro carbons) also has an adverse impact on the environment because it creates a Green House effect, which results in global warming.

Given the corrosive damage that is being caused to ACs, it's no great leap of logic to assume that the health of people living on the banks of the Yamuna is also under threat.

While emission of ammonia causes breathing and other respiratory disorders, including the permanent failure of the lungs, hydrogen sulphide causes headaches, asthma, bronchitis and gastrointestinal disorders, say doctors. They also say that steep increase of arsenic levels in the Yamuna may cause skin problems and even cancer.

Kidney failure, cancer, the weakening of immune system and fetal deaths after 20 weeks of pregnancy are among the latest threats being posed by the rising level of mercury in Yamuna, they said.

Updated Date: May 04, 2015 12:45:35 IST