Farmers in the Cauvery Delta region were happy when water was released from Mettur Dam on September 17. But, villagers living on the banks of the River Cauvery in Namakkal and Erode districts had other reasons to cherish.

“The river flushes away all the human and industrial wastes that get accumulated in the river. But for water for irrigation it would be impossible to clear the accumulated wastes,” says R. Sivakumar of Pallipalayam. The water turns black when it reached the contaminated segment of the river at Pallipalayam and Komarapalayam.

Effluents from the hundreds of dyeing units that are dumped into the river make the water worse. The river is an open garbage dump for local bodies and residents of villages and municipalities on either side of the river.

These wastes are carried down stream when water is released from Mettur Dam.

People living on the banks say that they dump wastes into the river as local bodies don’t have proper disposal mechanisms. Environmentalists feel that it is the duty of the district administration and the local bodies to ensure that houses are not built on the banks of the river.

“Priority should be given for establishment of Under Ground Drainage and treat the waste water before releasing it into the river”, says G. Ajeethan of Cauvery Family, a body comprising stake holders of the river.

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