Some residents in Madurai, India witnessed sections of the Vaigai river and Sellur pond become overrun with giant clumps of toxic foam.
Heavy rains caused the water levels to rise on Nov. 28. Then, polluted water mixed with the rainwater to create the bizarre foam. The pollutants are believed to have entered the rivers through open drains. Officials called the fire department to stop the foam from overflowing onto the streets.
Footage uploaded to Newsflare showed mountains of foam standing taller than the locals as people gathered to observe the strange phenomenon. Firefighters sprayed the foam with water to dissolve it. People were forced to traverse through the polluted suds on foot, motorcycles and cars.
Reporting from News 18 said toxic foam in the country has been a concern for some time. New Delhi’s Yamuna river is even known for having froth on its surface for years. In fact, last year, officials in India declared a health emergency due to the toxic air levels and presence of foam at the Hindu festival near the Yamuna river.
The toxic froth is largely caused by high levels of phosphate-containing detergents in the water. While the lockdown reduced some of the toxicity as human activity slowed, the holiday season saw a recent uptick in waste.
According to Live Science, India’s ongoing wastewater problem is exacerbated by poor water sanitation practices along with monsoon rains washing the pollution into its bodies of water. The toxic foam can cause skin irritation and damage. It has also caused mass fish die-offs.
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