Tamil Nadu

“Tamirabharani became ‘faecal coliform river’ on Aadi Amavasai”


Open defecation by several thousands of devotees, who had camped inside the sanctuary, could not be controlled.

During and after the recently-held ‘Aadi Amavasai celebrations at Sorimuthu Ayyanar Temple in the Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, water of the Tamirabharani had been contaminated with faecal coliform bacteria as open defecation by several thousands of devotees, who had camped inside the sanctuary, could not be controlled.

A study conducted by A.G. Murugesan, Professor in Sri Paramakalyani Centre of Excellence in Environmental Sciences of Manonmaniam Sundaranar University at Alwarkurichi, has once again proved that faecal coliform content in the river after the festival was in the dangerous level.

The team lead by Prof. Murugesan is assessing the biological quality of the river water for more than a decade.

This year also, the team carried out studies on microbial quality (faecal and total coliforms) of water in the upstream and downstream areas of the river and near Sorimuthu Ayyanar Temple. Water samples were collected from seven sites from Karaiyar dam up to Papanasam for nine days before and after the Aadi Amavasai festival along the Tamirabarani.

The research team enumerated the total coliform and faecal coliform bacteria counts in the water samples following MPN (Most Probable Number) method.

In the water sample collected from Karaiyar dam, the total coliforms were found in the range of 17 - 240 MPN/100 ml before Aadi Amavasai and 540 MPN / 100 ml on the festival day and thereafter it began declining.

“Two monkeys were found dead and floating at this site. At the sampling site, which is 3.50 km away from the Sorimuthu Ayyanar Temple, the total coliforms were recorded as 21 and 240 MPN two days before the festival but it was 1,100 on Aadi Amavasai and increased to 1,600 MPN/100 ml for two days after the festival,” Dr. Murugesan said.

The water samples collected near the temple and in a site at a distance of 0.3 km away downstream contained a maximum value of 4,800 MPN/100 ml on Aadi Amavasai and a day earlier.

“According to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), if the total coliform level exceeds 5,000 MPN/100 ml, the water contamination is equal to that of sewage,” Dr. Murugesan said. When the this year’s results were compared with previous year studies, the total coliform was 1,100 MPN/100 ml in 2004-2011 and in 2013–2014 it increased to 2,400 MPN/100 ml. Now, in 2015, it has reached 4,800 MPN/100 ml.

The faecal coliforms were found as 1,100 MPN/100ml during the years 2004-2011. During 2013, it rose to 2,400 MPN/100 ml. During 2014, it was 1100MPN/100 ml and now it is 1,600 MPN/100ml.

“Coliforms commonly cause diarrhoea, urinary tract infections, gastro-enteritis, meningitis and pneumonia. When immunity is less in the host body, the diseases caused by coliforms in human body are more significant. The presence of coliforms ultimately indicates the presence of other pathogenic organisms of faecal origin such as bacteria, viruses and protozoa,” Dr. Murugesan said.

Along with Dr. Murugesan, N. Thualsiraman, M. Radha, M. Lakshmikandan, M. Saravanakumar, S. Vignesh and K.Sivaraman conducted the study.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 2:21:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tamirabharani-became-faecal-coliform-river-on-aadi-amavasai/article7627204.ece

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