LIFE

Enforce laws and increase awareness

Enforce rules strictly

River water pollution is mainly due to indiscriminate dumping of industrial effluents, as many industries are located on the banks of rivers. Though there are laws to ensure that every industry should have its own recycling plant and that effluents should not be dumped into water bodies, the rule is often thrown to the winds by many industries. Hospitals do not bother to use incinerators and bio-medical waste is dumped into rivers causing pollution hazards. Strict enforcement of the existing rules is the only remedy for this. It is better that the Government constitute an expert committee to study the problems of water pollution and disposal of industries wastes.

S.K. Vijayan Alappuzha

Stringent measures

Water pollution has become one of the major threats faced by Kerala. The root cause of this problem is the mushrooming of industries. Industries should be built in thinly populated areas. Stringent measures should be taken against the erring industries. The State Pollution Control Board should be made responsible to ensure that the industries follow the norms strictly.

Varsha Hariharan Alappuzha

Ban sand-mining

No industry should be allowed on the riverbanks. Licence for factories which have no effluent processing units should be summarily cancelled. New industrial ventures should not be given licence unless the aforesaid provision is fulfilled. Needless to say, such provisions have to undergo surprise checks to ensure that they are in a state of good repair, as they are susceptible to failures. Unprocessed effluents from factories situated far from rivers, ultimately find their way to water sources. Therefore, no lapse on effluent processing should be tolerated. The principle should be applied to civic waste, which should be deposited at a centrally installed processing unit.

Unless river water is sand bound, there will be no fettering effect. Therefore, sand-mining should be effectively controlled.

M.Narayanan Kutty Palakkad

Rising pollution

The pollution of rivers and lakes in Kerala is increasing every day. The Periyar is polluted by hazardous chemicals, while the Bharatapuzha is dying. It will become a desert when the Pathrakadavu project and the Express Highway are constructed. The Vembanad Lake is polluted and even the fish are dying. People are using this polluted waste and their health is affected. There is no water in the Pampa for pilgrims to bathe. The State Water Resources Department is sleeping, while the State Pollution Control Board is ineffective. The board should be brought under the administrative control of the Water Resources Minister. It should have offices in each district. Industries which pollute water bodies should be penalised. It is high time the Government took action to control pollution in all sectors.

Ambady Padmanabhan Vayalar

Enforce laws

Pollution of water bodies by industrial effluents and civic waste is a crime on humanity and can no longer be ignored by the enforcing authorities.

Earlier, water pollution was mainly by industries situated in industrial

belts. But now with the growth of small scale and cottage industries engaged in businesses like fish processing, coir-bleaching, etc., places like Alappuzha and Cherthala are in the grip of water pollution and consequently there is scarcity of portable water. In Alappuzha district, mainly Cherthala, where coir-bleaching industries are flourishing, there is heavy chemical seepage and many surface wells and bore wells are polluted with acids and chemicals. After a year's ordeal, moving from pillar to post, I had to file a civil case to restrain a defiant businessman who was polluting our well water by contaminating the stream passing through our compound with effluents released The enforcement

machinery is not effective in as much as that its work seems to be confined to giving directions to erring employers and not enforcing its own order.

In the event of a complaint, culprits should be booked under the relevant law and a heavy fine should be levied on them. Small scale and cottage industries should form consortiums and have common treatment plants.

K. Purushothaman Cherthala

Check pollution

Pollution of water bodies has caused serious damages to the rivers and lakes in the State. This has indirectly affected the living beings in these water forms and also poses a threat to mankind as a

whole.

The major cause for pollution to the water bodies are the industrial units that are located along their banks. The individual units that cause pollution should be identified and penalised for their deeds and if they continue to pollute stern action, including cancellation of licence, should be initiated against them. Effluent treatment plants should be made mandatory in all industrial units.

Even though pollution is caused by industrial units, unauthorised sand-mining too has resulted in the virtual death of a major river like the Bharathapuzha in Palakkad district. So, along with controlling pollution, other major causes of destruction of water bodies should be checked.

Joseph George A Thripunithura

A moral issue

Ignorant and irresponsible people throw away their degradable organic wastes into water bodies ignoring the oxygen depleting potential of such wastes in a water body. Toxic pesticides and chemical fertilisers we use in our agricultural fields ultimately reach our waters and pollute them. Even when we throw waste in public, in a

Monsoon-fed State like Kerala, ultimately they are carried to water canals. Otherwise, our municipal and panchayat authorities do it, while cleaning up public places.

How many of us have the habit of disposing waste properly? Do we dispose off paper, domestic waste, agricultural waste, etc., safely without reaching a water resource? Human settlements both urban, rural and slums _ are the principal cause of water pollution in India. Absence of infrastructure facilities such as adequate collection, treatment and disposal of liquid and solid wastes, paucity of funds, etc., are the major issues. Moreover, the civic authorities give low priority to sewerage and treatment of sewage.

In the most literate State of India, when we travel from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod we see the ignorant and irresponsible management of wastes in all the small and big cities on the way. It is the same in the high ranges too. Can we see a clean water channel in any of the cities/towns/suburbs while crossing a bridge in Kerala?

I am not ignoring the irresponsible and criminal activities of certain private and public industries in discharging their toxic waste into water bodies. We can control them much more easily than controlling the polluting activities of our general masses.

Dr. J. Ray Changanacherry

A personal issue

In Kerala, the above-average consciousness of personal hygiene is disappointingly matched by the poor concern for the environment; the basis of the debate has to be this reality.

Industrial effluent discharge into water bodies/water courses is generally a serious cause of their pollution, but Kerala's crushingly dense population and its habits, more than her relatively sparse industrial establishments are responsible for the dismal state of affairs.

The pitiable provisions for the handling and treatment of population-generated waste by the civic bodies make sewers out of rivers and cesspools out of lakes and ponds.

Unfortunately, the enforcement authorities' focus is more on industries and that too it is only in an audit of pollution-control equipment, not of their functionality.

The key to a solution is change in attitude; look beyond the nose and feel beyond the skin.

Devraj Sambasivan Alappuzha

Ecological disaster

A recent study by the Supreme Court monitoring committee on hazardous waste found that the river Periyar is heavily polluted and on the verge of ecological disaster due to the industrial waste being discharged in to it. The Periyar is not an isolated case and the state of almost all rivers in the State is the same. The case of the Mahe river is illustrative. Both the Mahe municipality and the adjoining New Mahe panchayat do not have an abattoir and the animal slaughter waste is dumped into the Mahe river causing major pollution. This can be remedied only by restructuring the State Pollution Control Board to include environmental scientists, toxicologists and doctors who should monitor the situation closely and take appropriate measures. A community monitoring system should also be implemented.

M.K.B. Nambiar Mahe