GREATER NOIDAPollution levels touched a new high in the Hindon river as the water surface turned oily, causing health risks to animals and aquatic life, villagers said on Tuesday. They said that for the past one week, oil waste was being dumped into the river by nearby industrial units. Momnathal villagers filed a complaint seeking swift action into the issue. After farmers complained to the Uttar Pradesh pollution control board (UPPCB) about oil being discharged by unidentified factories into the Hindon, a UPPCB team on Tuesday collected water samples from the river near Momnathal village for a probe.“We have collected samples to send to the lab to ascertain the cause behind this contamination. The water is oily and dark. The test will determine the exact cause as to what polluted the river. We will be able to understand the cause only after reports come in,” Anil Kumar Singh, regional officer of the UPPCB, Noida, Gautam Buddh Nagar, said.The Hindon originates from Pur Ka Tanda village in Saharanpur and joins the Yamuna near Momnathal in Sector 151, Noida. In its journey to reach Momnathal, the river passes through Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Baghpat, Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad. Those living along this river dump their waste, be it sewage or solid waste, into the river. The government’s earlier plans to rejuvenate the 400km-long river, which is all but dead and now carries mostly sewage from the six districts through which it flows, have failed.“We have been observing oillike waste enveloping the water flowing through our village for the past one week. We saw birds and animals drinking this water dying in the river. Our buffalos and cows are also falling ill after drinking water from the river. We think industrial units are dumping waste into river. The government must take immediate action,” Nempal Singh, a resident of Momnathal village, said.Villagers said that their animals depend on the river for drinking purposes.“We have been taking our buffalos and cows to this river daily for years. But for the past one week, we have stopped taking our cattle to the river. We hope that the UPPCB and other agencies will address this issue. This river has been a lifeline for our village and others nearby,” Ravi Kumar, another resident, said.A 17km-long stretch of the river passes through Noida and Greater Noida with the riverbed being sold as residential plots by the land mafia. Many people have started living in the newly developed housing societies, dumping their sewage into the river.“The sad part is that the district administration and the UP government is not seriously thinking of ways to revive this river. The river was already polluted. But for past one week, it is alarming because the water is turning dark and oily. And now villagers are worried that as the water has turned an unhealthy colour, it will pollute the groundwater, which is being used for drinking purposes in villages along the river. If any villager takes a dip in the river, an oily black substance envelopes his or her body ,” Vikrant Tongad, an environmentalist, said.