Residents of Kunnathupalam on the banks of the Mampuzha in the city are living in perpetual fear of contagious diseases owing to the unhygienic condition of the river. Garbage accumulated near an irrigation bund on the river is the primary reason for their concern.
Biodogradable and non-biodegradable waste has accumulated on one side of the bund with a top layer of water hyacinth that disrupts the flow of water.
“The waste ranges from slaughterhouse to barbershop waste, plastic bottles, and carry bags washed away from upriver areas such as Kuttikkattoor, Mundupalam, Payyadimethal, and Palazhi. The stench emanating from the waste is unbearable and is a cause for concern,” said T.V. Rajan, secretary, All Kerala River Protection Committee.
Local residents fear that the stagnant waste may lead to water-borne and mosquito-borne diseases.
The bund was recently rebuilt by the Department of Minor Irrigation. A temporary mud bund secured by timber was built first to facilitate the construction of the concrete bund. However, the authorities failed to dismantle the temporary bund once the permanent one was completed. This is perceived as a reason for the accumulation of waste near the bund.
“The District Disaster Management Authority had issued directions to dismantle the temporary bund months ago but were not followed,” said Mr. Rajan.
According to locals, the permanent bund serves no purpose, and it needs to be demolished. “The bund was constructed when paddy cultivation was active in the region several decades ago. However, with the decline of paddy cultivation, it is no longer needed,” added Mr. Rajan.
The committee has urged the authorities to remove mud and silt from the temporary bund immediately to ensure smooth flow of water.