Polluted by raw sewage and solid waste and effluents from hospitals and industries located along the banks, the Karamana river flowing through the capital city has been reduced to a carrier of filth and disease, reviled as an environmental and public health menace.

In a bid to restore the ravaged river and salvage its ecology, the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) has given shape to an integrated river basin management project focusing on curbing pollution and cleaning up a one- km downstream stretch.

The Thiruvananthapuram Development Authority (TRIDA) will implement the participatory project that has been sanctioned for Rs.5 crore for the current financial year. A technical expert committee headed by Prof. V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai, executive vice-president, KSCSTE has finalised a pilot project for eradication of pollution from the Thiruvallam Thodu, an artificial canal branching off from the river, and eco restoration of the Killi, a tributary. Greening and beautification of the banks of the canal is another component.

A one km stretch of the Killi from Myladikadavu to Iranimuttam has been identified for implementing the eco restoration project.

Preventing the inflow of waste from populated areas along the banks and the construction of eco- toilets are among the measures mooted. The council will take up a public awareness campaign focussing on the need for conservation of the river ecosystem.

The project also involves the constitution of people’s committees to ensure public participation and support.

Prof. Pillai said a meeting of stakeholders would be convened shortly before the pilot project was taken up for implementation.