Slow death awaits Chalakudy river

UNDER THREAT: A weir on the Chalakudy river.  

Chalakudy River is yearning for a lifeline. Chalakudy River, the fifth largest river in the State, is faced with a series of risks including sand-mining, release of untreated effluents from an industrial unit and improper disposal of solid waste.

The environmental monitoring programme on water quality of the Chalakudy River Basin carried out by the Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment has brought out the challenges faced by the river.

The river basin covers Ernakulam, Thrissur and Palakkad districts.

The river is home to a large number of fish varieties and studies have identified 104 fish species from it. Considering the fish diversity supported by the river, the National Bureau of Fish Genetics Resources, Lucknow, has recommended that the upstream areas of the river should be declared as a fish sanctuary, the report says.

It is estimated that over 10 lakh people directly depend on the river for various needs. Lift irrigation, drinking water schemes and dams have been constructed in the river system.

The study has cautioned that “the construction of dams and inter basin water transfers have added to the degradation of the river.

Heavy sand-mining, over extraction of water for drinking purposes and irrigation and even for other river basins and saline ingress are taking their toll on the river.”

Low dissolved oxygen, abnormal colour and offensive odour were reported in the Kanjirapally area of the river basin and this has been attributed to the discharge of effluents from an industrial unit. Clay mining, transportation of mined clay and its processing near Chalakudy Bridge, presence of pesticide from Koodapuzha and Kanjirapally were some of the signs of slow death awaiting the river.

Another cause of worry for the river was the presence of heavy metals in sediment samples collected from the river. Traces of Manganese, Lead, Nickel, Zinc, Copper and Cadmium were identified in the scientific analysis, it was reported.

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Printable version | Nov 23, 2021 4:51:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/slow-death-awaits-chalakudy-river/article2655830.ece

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