-by Shruti Syal
Nestled underneath a conclave of trees on either side, the little drain hits the small JJC branching off longitudinally from the edge. One would think there’s not much scope for a settlement like this to have much of an effect on the drain, until residents chime into the conversation with information that a pump draws out wastewater from the settlement and dumps it into the drain just upstream of where it starts.
The upstream-settlement-downstream stretch of the drain is not too long, so the site’s a quick wrap. It’s a relief though, to see the relatively small size to be dealt with for the wetland intervention. Solid waste management is a definite requirement, but given the lesser exposure to the settlement, its organization does not seem to be a herculean task. The size is also particularly beneficial given the relatively far more poor state of the water, at least visually:
Cloaked in a milky white- in the most unflattering of metaphors- it seems almost choked, except for the few signs of “life” at points where some flow is apparent, or bubbles (of likely ammonia-nitrogen) gurgle from concealed inlets barely visible at the bottom right hand corner of this image:
The drain widens a little at the section downstream of the settlement, and where a nursery sits passive, frequented only by kingfishers and a bevy of other tiny, colourful birds. At times like these I wish I enjoyed taxonomy enough to blurt out Latin names of these species to add a touch of poetry to these pieces. The light’s too bright to catch their lovely plumage on an 8-megapixel camera, but I jump at the chance of catching the few Monarchs that aren’t interested in ramming into my face.
The slopes on either side are gentle all the way upto the railway tracks which is where we stop our little hike. As seems to be the case with most sites we visit, locals caution us against wandering beyond the domains of the settlement.
They assure us that this is as far downstream as we need to go before the drain actually meanders its way into the Yamuna without further disturbance.