A Correspondent

KATTAPPANA: A committee of environmentalists and social activists observed the World Environment Day on Friday as the Kattappana River Protection Day.

About 60 activists took out a procession from the panchayat ground through the bank of the river and planted bamboo saplings and grasses to protect the river bank. They also distributed leaflets and notices to the residents near the banks to create awareness on protecting the river, which is the main source of drinking water in the town.

Inaugurating the programme, environmentalist C.P. Roy underlined the need for protecting the river from future encroachment and pollution as the city is suffering from severe shortage of drinking water. The river, which was a perennial stream, has been reduced to a mere 20 ft wide rivulet in some areas due to rampant encroachments.

The wastes generated in the town including non-bio degradable wastes are being dumped into the river, causing contamination of the water. “To counter the shortage of drinking water, the only solution is to protect the river,” said environmentalist E.J. Thomas and added that the Friday’s programme to create awareness on the need for protecting the river and environment is only a beginning of a large project aimed at protection of the river.

The river has been the main source of drinking water. There should be some mechanism to monitor the river from future encroachments, says Mr. Joseph. The river which had a large collection of fish varieties is now hosts only to a few small varieties of fish. Even these fishes are dying due to contamination of water, he said.