Biological pollution high in Devikulangara, finds study

A study by the University of Kerala has found that biological pollution is rampant in Devikulangara grama panchayat in Alappuzha.

‘The monitoring and evaluation study of the water resources of Devikulangara panchayat’, carried out by Shaji E., associate professor and head, Department of Geology, University of Kerala, has identified the presence of E.coli and total coliform in groundwater samples.

“The survey shows that the panchayat has nearly 5,000 dug and tube wells. Biological analysis has found that water in the majority of the wells is not suitable for drinking purposes due to the presence of total coliform. An analysis of the tap water (tube well) also shows the presence of total coliform, which is a serious issue,” says Mr. Shaji, adding that dependency on dug wells can create health hazards.

The population density of Devikulangara is 2,889 people per sq km, which is far higher than the State average. The study notes that the majority of the septic tanks in the local body are open pits and sewage water gets mixed with well water during the rainy season.

Cattle activity, the presence of treatment tanks, and waterlogged abandoned plots also add to the problem. The groundwater is also found to be acidic with low pH, while a high concentration of sulphate, potassium, aluminium and cadmium is noticed.

The surface water sources too are heavily polluted with waste, plastic bottles and other garbage.

The water sample collected from Kumbolichira (TM Thuruth) shows the highest electrical conductivity and total dissolved solids indicate saline water intrusion in the area. An acidic nature (pH of 4.22) is observed in the water sample collected from Govindamuttom. Also, high chloride and sulphate values were observed in the pond water sample collected from TM Thuruth. Arsenic contamination is observed in the Kenarumukku area. High values of aluminium is observed from Puliyanikkal Junction, Kootamvathukal Kadavu, Mannel Kadavu areas, the study says.

Though the local body is mostly surrounded by water, freshwater availability is not uniform and drinking water shortage is a major problem. Around 40 lakh litres is needed to meet the daily water requirements. However, the present supply comes to around 20 lakh litres. Due to a lack of storage tanks, water supply is being carried out by direct pumping resulting in huge distribution loss, the study says.

Besides water, an analysis of soil shows majority of the area has acidic soil. The low concentration of potassium in the soil is resulting in poor coconut and other plantation crop yields.

The study calls for scientifically constructed septic tanks and cleaning surface drains to prevent groundwater and surface water pollution. It suggests rainwater harvesting, construction of tube wells with a depth of 180 metres and water storage tanks to address drinking water woes.

The study was conducted as part of the village extension programme of the university. The varsity has handed over the study report to the panchayat authorities.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 5:33:31 am |