Garbage dumped into Kattery dam poses risk to wildlife

Plastic and household waste dumped in the Kattery dam near Coonoor.

Plastic and household waste dumped in the Kattery dam near Coonoor.

Residents living in the Ketti Valley are using the Kattery dam in the area as a dumping ground for plastic and household waste, posing a threat to wildlife using the water body.

Liquor bottles, plastic as well as household waste are being dumped in the water body indiscriminately, with little to no action being taken to stop the practice, local residents said. Due to the pollutants being dumped into the lake, water hyacinth has taken over most of the area, with the invasive species forming a thick carpet over the lake surface.

Based on records uploaded to the website, 42 species of birds have been recorded using the dam and artificial lake since 2014. Wildlife biologists said that though the effects of water hyacinth on aquatic and wetland bird species has not been studied in the area, it has been theorized that water hyacinth can impact water quality and limit open-water areas required by certain avian species.

P.J. Vasanthan, a trustee of “Clean Coonoor,” an NGO which has helped clean up the Coonoor River, said that the Kattery Stream flows down from Ketti and joins the Coonoor River near Runnymede. “While there is little impact on water purity further downstream due to the oxygenization effect on running water, plastic does get washed down, and accidental ingestion by wildlife is a serious concern,” he said. “The effect of micro-plastics too is not very-well studied. In a clean-up conducted a few years ago near Laws Falls in Coonoor, we found milk packets from 2002, highlighting how plastics can stay in the river for many years and have an impact decades after they were dumped there,” said Mr. Vasanthan.

Local residents said that one of the reasons people dumped waste into the dam was due to the lack of a proper waste-management system in place in Ketti and surrounding villages. “The Kattery Dam also supplies water to the Cordite Factory in Aravankadu. There is security presence throughout the day and during the night. CCTV cameras can be set up in the area to find who is dumping waste into the dam,” said R. Hariharan, a resident of Ketti Palada, a village located close to the Kattery Dam.

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 10:42:23 am |