“What fear? If we are scared, then how can we pray?” asked Rajesh Kumar Verma.

One of India’s most sacred rivers appears to be coated with a thick layer of snow. Except it isn’t, as the AP reports.

A vast stretch of the Yamuna river is covered with white toxic foam, caused in part by pollutants discharged from industries ringing New Delhi.

Still, on Wednesday hundreds of Hindu devotees stood knee-deep in its frothy, toxic waters, sometimes even immersing themselves for a holy dip to mark the festival of Chhath Puja.

The 1,376-kilometer (855-mile) Yamuna is one of the holiest rivers for Hindus. It is also among the most polluted in the world.

The river provides more than half of New Delhi’s water, posing a serious health threat to its residents. It has become dirtier over the years as most of the capital’s sewage, farm pesticides from neighboring states and industrial effluents from factory towns flow into the waterway despite laws against polluting.

© Copyright LaPresse