On the banks of the Korapuzha, one may not find that pristine ambience which once attracted travellers on the Kozhikode-Kannur route.
Like many other rich water sources, the Korapuzha too stinks with the accumulated waste of slaughterhouses, household garbage, plastic materials and septic tanks. Illegal sand-mining adds to the plight of the river.
Fishermen who depend on this river are the main victims of the neglect of the river. Their fishing nets often get filled with garbage and waste.
“It is not just the concern of fishermen alone, but all who live on either side of the river. The stink is just the beginning and the days to come it will be worse,” says M. Pradeep, chairman of a local action council recently formed to protect the river.
He adds that the local people, merchants and the travellers on the route are answerable for the state of the river. An action council member reveals that people from far throw waste bundles into the river and flee.
Both small packets of food wastes and big bundles of plastic and other non-degradable materials including computer discards are regularly dumped into the river.
The small pathways leading to the river also help outsiders to safely come to the spot on two-wheelers and throw garbage into the river. As most of the dumping activities take place during night, people in the locality are finding it hard to keep an eye on them.
“Often, celebrations in and around the region have an adverse impact on the river as the waste is always thrown into the water. We have come across instances where people dump large quantity of food waste after big functions like marriages and get-togethers,” says N.M. Pradeep, a leader of Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad, which is now crusading to save the river. He points out that waste water from Canoly canal too lands in the river.
Above all, the increasing quantity of non-degradable waste is also posing a challenge to the vast area of mangrove forests in the region.
Large acres of mangroves have already been cleared in the area by encroachers and the rest are under threat of extinction due to the heavy deposit of waste.
“To find a lasting remedy to the issue, our action council is planning to undertake massive awareness campaigns in the area with the support of all cooperating local bodies and the police,” says Mr. Pradeep. Thalakkulathur panchayat president and police officials from Elathur station have also promised support for the drive, he adds.