Tamil Nadu

Concern over cemetery polluting Coonoor River

The stream in which the ashes of the dead and their clothes from the cemetery at Vannarpet in Coonoor, are dumped. The stream joins Coonoor River.   | Photo Credit: SpecialArrangement

A cemetery at Vannarpet in Coonoor is contributing to the pollution of the Coonoor River.

The cemetery, surrounded by communities where more than 5,000 people live, is used for both burial and cremation. Local residents said that while burials were not a cause of concern, the remains of the persons cremated at the cemetery as well as their personal items such as clothes were dumped into the stream which joins the main Coonoor River.

“When the clothes and other belongings make their way downstream, they can contribute to the clogging up of the stream and the river course, and are very difficult to remove,” an official from the Coonoor Municipality said.

S. Ramkumar, a resident, said that after cremation, the ashes were thrown into the river along with the belongings of the deceased as it was a custom.

The municipal officials said that the pollution caused by the cemetery was not a major threat in terms of pollutants entering the river, but the clothes thrown into the stream can block the river course.

Citizens’ groups as well as the district administration are making efforts to come up with a solution to manage the waste entering the river from the cemetery.

P. J. Vasanthan, member of the “Clean Coonoor” citizens’ group, said that volunteers were in discussion with locals to install a filter to prevent the objects from joining and blocking the main river.

Meanwhile, the district administration was also planning to hold talks with the residents to use the electric crematorium. The administration was also considering covering the cost of using the facility for people from economically weaker background, the officials said.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 1:13:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/concern-over-cemetery-polluting-coonoor-river/article28224362.ece

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