Ennore creek in dire straits: Report

The Ennore creek and backwaters, the confluence point of Kosasthalaiyar river, North Buckingham canal and the sea, have been systematically destroyed over the past three decades owing to industrialisation, says a report, adding that a comprehensive review of the environmental degradation and levy of penalty from industries violating the environmental laws are the need of the hour.

The report on loss of ecology and livelihood of residents of six fishing hamlets brought out by a three-member panel headed by D. Hariparanthaman, former judge, Madras High Court, was released here on Monday.

‘Death by a Thousand Cuts: Report of public hearing on loss of ecology and fisher livelihood in Ennore creek’ highlights the systematic damage allegedly done to the Ennore creek, particularly by public sector firms such as North Chennai Thermal Power Station (NCTPS), Ennore Thermal Power Station and Kamarajar Port Ltd.

It was compiled based on a public hearing with people from six fishing villages affected by environmental pollution.

“We found that fly ash deposits have reduced the depth of the river from 15 feet to just one or two feet now. In some places, mounds are visible above the water level. Oily effluents from surrounding industries and coolant water from NCTPS are being discharged into the river. We need development but not at the stake of natural resources,” said Mr. Hariparanthaman.

Fisherfolk have been severely affected over the past few years. M. Anandan of Ennore Anaithu Meenava Grama Kootamaipu said: “We used to get catch easily near the creek. Now, many of us travel for nearly eight km to Pulicat.

Fishermen who used to earn Rs.500 daily a decade ago now hardly make Rs.100 and many have shifted jobs. Some of them suffer from skin diseases too.”

Moreover, Kamarajar Port Ltd. has dumped dredged mud on mangroves and salt pans in the creek area and created a bund to the coal yard, violating the norms, panel members said. Sewage from neighbouring areas such as Tiruvottiyur and Kathivakkam also pollute the river.

Pointing out that public sector companies were mainly responsible for the pollution, the report blames government agencies such as Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and Tamil Nadu Coastal Zone Management Authority for dereliction of duty.

Pointing out that it was a discriminatory approach to waterways in north Chennai, Karen Coelho of Madras Institute of Development Studies and a panel member complained that though the State government was involved in projects to restore waterways, many were concentrated in other parts of the city. The government must impose a moratorium on expansion of industries and also restore the waterway.

The team plans to meet the State government authorities to submit the recommendations to save the Ennore creek.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 11:39:01 PM |

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