As authorities dilly-dally, Eloor-Edayar stretch of the Periyar in peril

PCB is yet to act on its earlier inferences that effluents were being discharged in violation of norms through stormwater drains in the industrial area into the river

Published - May 21, 2024 11:08 pm IST - KOCHI

Except for the piecemeal actions that lack teeth, the authorities have failed to initiate concrete steps against fishkill and frequent discolouration of the Periyar along the Eloor-Edayar industrial stretch for long.

The Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB), which is authorised to act against the pollution of the river, has not even acted upon its earlier inferences that effluents were being discharged in violation of norms through stormwater drains in the industrial area into the river.

A report prepared by the PCB in June 2022 had confirmed that illegal discharge of untreated wastewater had taken place through nearly 15 stormwater drains in Edayar. Tests conducted by the PCB had revealed exceeding levels of biological oxygen demand (BOD), a proxy for organic pollution, in samples collected from drains leading to the Periyar.

The PCB and the Department of Irrigation had failed to implement several directives issued by the State Level Monitoring Committee (SLMC) on Solid Waste Management appointed by the National Green Tribunal to check pollution of the river, especially along the Edayar industrial stretch.

The SLMC had recommended setting up an inspection bridge similar to the walkway along the Eloor-Edayar industrial stretch of the Periyar for effective surveillance against industrial pollution in 2020. Despite repeated reminders, the project is still in cold storage for want of funds. A proposal by the Irrigation department to set up a dyke wall along the banks of the river in the industrial belt is also pending.

The SLMC had also expressed doubts over the presence of underground pipes starting from industrial units and ultimately discharging industrial waste illegally into the river through the system. However, no follow-up action was taken by the board or other relevant departments to confirm the inference. The board had also opposed a recommendation by the SLMC to form an independent committee to monitor industries and institutions along the banks of the river, especially at the time of discolouration or fishkill.

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