Slogans, uproars and appeals to save rivers are nothing new to the State. But there was something truly compelling about the way the Iruvanjhi Puzha Samrakshana Samiti went about sensitising the public against polluting the Iruvanjhi river and spelling a slow death for it. The samiti organised a country-boat journey through the river, appealing to the public to safeguard the tributary from dying. The campaign, named ‘Jalayatra-08,’ also marked the 25th anniversary of the samiti, which acts as a committed guardian of the river in the Mukkom and Karassery areas.

The campaigners

The campaigners on board comprised school children, environmental activists, public representatives and health officials.

The colourful boat-journey with the school children singing river songs and the activists shouting slogans through loudspeakers caught the attention of the public on both banks of the river across the journey.

The journey started at 11 a.m. on Sunday from near the vent-pipe bridge at Mukkom and ended at Koolimadu, near Mavoor, by 2.p.m. “We wanted the young generation to see for themselves the cruelties human beings do to our most precious rivers, that is why we included as many as 50 school children on the boat,” says Salam Nadukkandi, general convener of the Jalayatra.

Polluters and pollutants

He said that the water was contaminated mostly by waste from the unlicensed slaughter houses at Mukkam and surrounding areas, besides the waste materials dumped into the river from hotels and other firms.

“Only a concerted and continued effort can save our rivers,” says Mr. Salam, who is also a noted environmental activist.

River Iruvanjhi is a major tributary of Chaliyar and from olden days, its water is believed to have therapeutic values.

It runs through more than seven panchayats, including Mukkom, Karasseri, Kodiyathur and Chathamangalam before its confluence with Chaliyar in Koolimadu.

The Jalayatra was inaugurated by district panchayat vice-president V. Kunhali. Several leaders and activists attended the concluding ceremony at Koolimadu.

Jabir Mushthari