A eight-member People’s Fact Finding Committee on river Pampa has visited Pampa on the foothills of Sabarimala to take stock of the pollution status of Njunangar, a tributary of river Pampa that originates from Sannidhanam and the Pampa-Triveni on Sunday.
The committee comprised of Dr. N. Chandramohan Kumar, head of the department of Oceanic Chemistry at CUSAT, Dr. Thomas P. Thomas, Botany professor at Kozhencherry St. Thomas College, Mr Jacob V. Lazar of
People’s Union for Civil Liberty, Dr. A. Latha of River Research Institute at Chalakkudy, Mr. V.N. Gopinatha Pillai, vice-president of All-Kerala River Protection Council, Mr. Purushan Eloor, Periyar Malineekarana Virudha Samiti leader, Mr. P.K. Ibrahim, lawyer at Kerala High Court and Mr. R. Ajayan, environmentalist.
The committee has visited Njunangar, Pampa-Triveni and the sewage treatment plant of Travancore Devaswom Board on the banks of Pampa at Cheriyanavattom following reports on the possible heavy metal contamination of river Pampa due to direct chemical treatment of Njunangar during the past two years, said Mr. Ajayan, panel convener.
Talking to reporters here in the afternoon, Mr. Ajayan said the experts in the committee have expressed their strong reservations towards the direct treatment of Njunangar using contaminated ferrous chloride and that too “waste product of a private company”.
The committee is of the opinion that the direct chemical treatment of the Njunangar stream itself was totally unscientific, leaving the 30 lakh population residing in the Pampa river basin upto Kuttanad exposed to alarming health risk due to contamination of the water source with heavy metals including cadmium, nickel, chromium and zinc, Mr. Ayayan said.
He said technical experts in the committee have collected samples of water and sludge from Njunangar as well as Pampa for further detailed examination to be carried out at a nationally accredited laboratory, later.
The committee also expressed deep concern over the failure on the part of the State Pollution Control Board to conduct any environment impact study before or after launching the direct river treatment scheme.
Mr. Ajayan said the committee would submit a report on its preliminary findings to the Government soon. The committee has further called upon the government to ban use of contaminated ferrous chloride, which is said to be the waste product of a private company, for sewage treatment in Pampa in the larger interests of protecting the population from any further health risk, Mr. Ajayan said.