People in a dirty river – level 3
Hindu devotees in northern India celebrated the Chhath Puja festival by religiously bathing in the Yamuna River despite the thick toxic foam sitting on the water in some places.
On Wednesday, a layer of the toxic foam coated parts of the sacred river near India’s capital, as Hindus gathered at the river. The mixture of sewage and industrial waste formed over the last week, and the government sent 15 boats to remove the foam. However, Hindus walked through the foam to bathe and pray in the river, saying that they had no choice but to bathe in the polluted waters.
The foam contained high levels of ammonia and phosphates that can result in breathing and skin problems. The Yamuna River, a tributary to the holy Ganges River, flows about 1,400 kilometers south from the Himalaya Mountains through several states. For decades, people have dumped toxic chemicals and untreated sewage into the water. The river is the most polluted in areas around Delhi, as it appears dark and thick, while plastic waste lines its sides.
Difficult words: devotee (an enthusiastic follower), ammonia and phosphate (chemicals that people often use in fertilizers), tributary (a river that flows into a larger river or a lake).
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