25 years on, forum against Periyar pollution continues its relentless fight

November 17, 2023 09:03 pm | Updated 09:03 pm IST - KOCHI

The samithi has been in the forefront of several agitations against the frequent discolouration of the Periyar and fish kills reported along the Eloor-Edayar stretches.

The samithi has been in the forefront of several agitations against the frequent discolouration of the Periyar and fish kills reported along the Eloor-Edayar stretches. | Photo Credit: H. VIBHU

It was a massive fish kill in the polluted waters of the Periyar on June 11, 1998 that prompted local residents and environmental activists to speak up for their right to live in a pollution-free environment.

Their resolve to fight against the pollution caused by industrial units in the Eloor-Edayar industrial areas led to the formation of the Periyar Malineekarana Virudha Samithi. “The forum was launched at a meeting held in the panchayat hall at Varapuzha in the wake of the fish kill in Periyar river. Over the past 25 years, the Samithi has been able to wage a sustained fight against pollution,” said Purushan Eloor, research coordinator of the samithi.

The industrialisation of Eloor, which started in 1933, has now expanded to around 280 industrial units in the medium and large-scale categories. It has become a major industrial cluster. Pollution has also turned severe, especially air pollution in Eloor, Edayar and nearby areas including Kadungallor, Varpuzha, Kadamakudi, Pizhala and Cheranalloor, he said.

The samithi has been in the forefront of several agitations against the frequent discolouration of the Periyar and fish kills reported along the Eloor-Edayar stretches for long. Besides the ground-level protests, the forum has played a key role in making the local population aware about their rights. “We have been actively carrying out research on the pollution by collecting samples from polluted sites and testing them in recognised labs. The samithi has also filed several petitions in various courts against the industrial pollution,” he said.

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