Pollution unabated at Sabarimala

PCB says eight waste collection tanks not yet connected with sewage treatment plant

Pollution of natural water sources, including river Pampa, remains unabated with the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) and various government agencies allegedly taking an indifferent attitude towards this grave issue.

A letter issued recently by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB) to the Devaswom Commissioner and the member-secretary of the high power committee (HPC) for implementation of the Sabarimala Master Plan is a testimony to the negligence on the part of the authorities concerned in ensuring foolproof functioning of the modern sewage treatment plant (STP) at the Sabarimala Sannidhanam. The letter said the inspection conducted by a joint team of PCB engineers, TDB officials, and STP contractor on November 26 had found eight sewage collection tanks at the holy hillock had not yet been connected to the STP.

District environmental engineer Alexander George said the sewage collection tanks near the police mess, copra washing area, Appam plant, Aravana plant, PD Block, the tank behind the Annadana Mandapam, collection tank of a toilet block near Nadapandal, and human waste collection tank of a toilet complex near Bhasmakulam had not been connected to the STP. A number of sewage tanks were either leaking or overflowing, leading to free flow of the sewage into the Njunangar stream leading to river Pampa, he said. The letter said the laboratory analysis of the STP outflow discharge samples collected by the PCB team shows ‘‘high coliform count in it, making the treatment plant meaningless.’’

He said the PCB had permitted to operate the STP strictly on conditions that the TDB and the contractor should comply with certain specific conditions prescribed by it to ensure disinfection of the outflow discharge from the plant in a time-bound manner. But, the board has not yet complied with any of the conditions, he said.

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