Local people’s efforts to stop waste dumping in the river have solid backing from CWDRM.

Those who slyly dump waste on the banks of the Mampuzha river are in for trouble. The local community will soon form a ‘water squad’ on either side of the river, just to catch them. The Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM) has come up with an action plan to support the operation of the squad with the cooperation of three grama panchayats in the region.

The main purpose of the squad will be to catch regular waste dumpers red-handed and hand them over to the police. Leaders of the Mampuzha Samrakshana Samiti say the project is being implemented as a last resort after several measures to save the river failed. The plan is expected to succeed as people in the region themselves will serve as guards and keep an eye on the polluters, they add. The squad will also check attempts of river encroachment and land filling. It will also support the ongoing survey of the Revenue Department to identify encroachments, in an attempt to save the dying waterbody.

50-member squads

“The CWRDM scientists who proposed the idea of water squads will help form 50-member squads in each of the three panchayats. The formation of the squad is almost complete in Perumanna panchayat. Olavanna and Peruvayal grama panchayats will get their teams shortly,” says T.K.A. Azeez, president of Samiti. He adds that mainly people living on either side of the river will be enrolled, ensuring equal participation of students, youth, housewives, environmentalists, and senior citizens.

CWRDM scientists say the project includes a total rejuvenation plan for the river and to restore its ecology through better sanitation techniques. The project will incorporate regular monitoring of water quality in various phases.

Madhavan Komath, principal investigator of CWRDM, says the project is implemented with the active support of Kunnamangalam MLA P.T.A Rahim and the heads of various other local bodies. The MLA has sanctioned Rs.5 lakh from his local development fund for the scheme, he adds.

Quality plummets

Mr. Komath says the perennial river is severely polluted by plastic waste, and waste from houses and slaughterhouses. A preliminary study recently conducted by the CWRDM had revealed the deteriorating quality of the river water, which could be restored only through proper bioengineering techniques and focused conservation.

Under the CWRDM plan, the local population will be trained on scientific treatment of solid waste in their households.

The water squad will steer the activities, which will look into the possibility of setting up maximum vermicompost units, pipe compost units and bio gas plants along riverside houses.

In some locations, the concept of ecosan (dry toilet) too will be introduced on an experimental basis.

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