Pre-monsoon cleaning drive was inaugurated on May 22
PATHANAMTHITTA: Though the government had launched a cleaning drive two weeks ago in an effort to check diseases spreading across the State, especially with the onset of the monsoon, the programme is yet to pick up momentum in the Pathanamthitta district which was badly hit by chikungunya two years ago.
The pre-monsoon cleaning drive in the district was formally inaugurated by District Collector T.T. Antony on May 22. The Collector himself led a cleaning programme on the Civil Station premises.
Meanwhile, there were also official reports confirming six cases of dengue fever and five leptospirosis cases in different parts of the district during the past 10 days, exposing the gravity of the garbage menace in almost all the towns in the district.
A new type of viral fever too has been spreading in the hilly tracts as well as the plains and experts attribute this epidemic-like situation to the heaps of solid waste accumulated in different parts of the district, polluted water bodies and to the absence of proper vector-control mechanisms.
The District Collector had convened a meeting of local body authorities and heads of various departments in the district to review the progress of the sanitation drive a few days ago. It is also alleged that the municipality had taken an indifferent attitude towards removing the waste collected even from the Collectorate premises.
Meanwhile, Deputy Director of Panchayats C.T. Harikumar told The Hindu that a strict direction had been issued to all panchayats in the district to ensure effective vector control and waste disposal measures in their geographical jurisdiction.
Paulus Eapen, District Environmental Engineer attached to the Kerala State Pollution Control Board, said solid waste generation in Pathanamthitta municipality alone amounts to 10 tonnes a day whereas the civic body is yet to take any effective steps to ensure its proper disposal.
According to him, the district does not house any properly designed slaughter houses. Pollution of water bodies due to the callous dumping of waste from chicken corners, slaughter houses, hotels, markets, etc. is a major public health menace facing the district. The major panchayats of Kozhencherry, Konni, Pandalam and Mallappally too generate huge quantities of solid waste and absence of any proper sewage disposal mechanism has been the bane of these panchayat headquarters situated on one or the other river banks.
However, the Health Department has started cleaning up of hospital premises in the district.