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Detergent Waste Chokes Yamuna
Teenage boys diving into unearthly swathes of white foam and colourful sari-clad women standing in the same dirty waters doing Chhat Puja have become our eternal images of river Yamuna, Delhi's only river and lifeline. But why?

Because over decades, political leaders and babus in various ministries associated with the health of our water bodies, have ignored one major cause of pollution in them: Excess phosphate in household and factory-use detergent powders and bars.

Phosphorus or phosphate -- extracted from limited mines in UP, Rajasthan and Odisha in India -- is added to laundry detergents to make hard water soft. This is necessary so that the cleansing agent can perform optimally.

However, lack of standards -- or rather their enforcement -- has ensured that manufacturers don't act scientifically, but as per "competition in the market", adding up to 40-50 per cent of phosphate in their products when current USA standards cap/limit the same at 2.2 per cent and Spain even at 0.5 per cent!

 
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