Waste dumped into public well
PATHANAMTHITTA: The neglect on the part of authorities in ensuring adequate protection to drinking water sources has turned a public well on the banks of the Pampa near the Nedumprayar junction at Maramon into a waste dumping pit.
The well was once a major drinking water source. However, it turns dry in summer with the drastic depletion of the groundwater owing to lowering of the riverbed due to sand-mining in the Pampa.
Local residents and even scavengers attached to the Thottapuzhasserry grama panchayat dump waste collected from the locality into the well and burn it there itself.
With the culmination of the Maramon Convention on Sunday, the well was found filled with all sorts of waste collected from the western bank of the river on Monday.
District Environmental Engineer attached to the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB) Paul S. Eapen said the dumping of waste, including toxic materials, into the well would lead to direct contamination of the groundwater, which would ultimately pollute wells in the surrounding areas.
A PCB inspection team found that the burning of plastic waste and the dumping of waste into the well happened in the presence of a local body member on Monday, Mr. Eapen said.
Assistant Environment Engineer Alexander George said that the act amounted to blatant violation of the Kerala (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act that prescribed five-year imprisonment of those who were responsible for the contamination of drinking water sources, he added.
None of the three grama panchayats - Thottappuzhasserry, Mallappuzhasserry and Kozhencherry - have taken adequate steps to clear the waste generated in their jurisdiction during the week-long Maramon convention.
Pool of filth
The water intake point of a drinking water supply scheme on the western bank of the river in the Kozhencherry panchayat has been turned into a pool of filth.
Collector Ashok Kumar Singh said he had directed the PCB authorities to initiate stern action against those who were responsible for the pollution of the river as well as the ground water sources at Maramon and Kozhencherry.
Thottapuzhasserry panchayat secretary Radhakrishnan said that many local residents used to let out their residential courtyard for running commercial stalls during the Maramon meet. The panchayat was not getting licence fee from these traders who left heaps of waste on the wayside as well as in the surrounding areas. Waste disposal was slightly affected owing to paucity of funds and shortage of scavengers.
Kozhencherry panchayat secretary Narayanan said the local body had decided to close down public toilets on the banks of the Pampa in Kozhencherry town following complaints of waste flowing into the river from its leaky collection tanks.
Mallappuzhasserry panchayat secretary Renju George said that the local body had taken steps to dispose of plastics and other waste from its jurisdiction on Wednesday.