Thiruvananthapuram

Muck that chokes river’s health

Pale-hued Karamana river near Thiruvallam where it meets the heavily-polluted Parvathy Puthanar canal.

Pale-hued Karamana river near Thiruvallam where it meets the heavily-polluted Parvathy Puthanar canal.  

Absence of a decentralised system for sewage treatment affecting Karamana project

The absence of a decentralised system for sewage treatment in the city is being viewed as a major hurdle in addressing the challenge of widespread contamination of the Karamana river.

While the 107-million litres a day (MLD) modern sewage treatment plant at Muttathara had been envisaged to meet the city’s requirement, only about 30% of the total accumulation reached the facility though sewage lines, according to rough estimates.

According to K.G. Narayana Pillai, Adviser and Chief Project Coordinator, Karamana River Scientific Management (KRSM) project, large quantities of the effluent leaked out to the Karamana-Killi river has lead to continuous pollution of the water body. “A decentralised sewage treatment mechanism is the need of the hour. A proposal has been floated to establish several mini-treatment plants in various parts to aid effective sewage treatment,” he said.

The project, being undertaken by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) and implemented by the Thiruvananthapuram Development Authority (TRIDA) for pollution mitigation of the Karamana-Killi river, has been instrumental in renovating existing sewage lines and laying new ones within the city limits to protect the river stretch extending from Thiruvallam to Vazhayila.

Among its completed activities, the KRSM has undertaken the renovation of sewage lines in Siva Nagar, Sastri Nagar and Kailas Nagar. The laying of new lines from the Killi bridge to Thittakudi was currently under way. Besides, three modern pump-sets, worth nearly ₹2 crore, have been established at the Kuriathy pumping station as part of the integrated river management project that was launched in the 2013-14 fiscal.

Surveillance cameras

Prof. Pillai said surveillance cameras installed at various points along the river bank and chain-linked fencing erected on both sides of bridges passing along the water body were measures that had been adopted to address the issue of littering. The visuals captured by the cameras were being relayed to the city police control room to identify vehicles transporting wastes. They were also being used for maintenance of law and order. He added that efforts were under way to establish two biodiversity parks, including tropical plants, downstream of the Karamana bridge by associating with the Kerala State Biodiversity Board.

The construction of a Dhobi ghat in the area was also complete.

Various bio-fencing techniques were being explored to address pollution of the river. Bioremediation, a waste management technique that utilises bacteria to neutralise pollutants, had been attempted recently on an experimental basis.

The difficulty in coordinating various agencies, including the Irrigation Department, Minor Irrigation Department, Kerala Water Authority (Sewerage wing), Public Works Department and Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, had posed hurdles to the progress of the project, Prof. Pillai said.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 11:57:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/muck-that-chokes-rivers-health/article18662706.ece

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