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Garbage plant polluting drinking water source

(T K Devasia) / 19 January 2012

TRIVANDRUM - The wastes from Kerala’s capital city of Trivandrum dumped at the garbage treatment plant at Vilappilsala village have been polluting Karamana River, a major source of drinking water for the people in the city.

This was revealed by the Advocates Commission appointed by the Kerala High Court to ascertain the extent of pollution and health problems caused by the plant to the people in the village, 16kms from the city.

In its report submitted to the court, commission headed by Advocate K Meera said that the situation in the village was very grave and needed immediate attention. The report pointed out that the waste materials dumped in the plant were polluting the entire area and this condition can lead to the outbreak of contagious and deadly diseases. The 80-page report said that the waste from the plant was flowing into the Karamana River, which flows through the city. The river starting from the southern tip of the Western Ghats at Agastyar Koodam, flows 68km westward and merges into the Arabian Sea at Panathura area near Kovalam.

The water from the river is diverted to the city for drinking water purpose through a dam at Aruvikkara. The water also used for irrigation purpose through another dam at Peppara.

An environmental monitoring programme on water quality carried out by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) in 2010 had also revealed heavy pollution in major stretches of the river.

Analysis of water samples collected from 20 locations along the river showed contamination from different sources resulting in poor water quality, especially in the downstream areas. Seventy-five per cent of the river water samples were found acidic in nature and 53 per cent bacteriologically contaminated. Bacteriological analysis of the river water had indicated microbial contamination.

Unregulated development of tourism, discharge of raw sewage and domestic effluents and industrial pollution were found as the major source of the pollution.

The Vilappilsala plant functioning for the last seven years has confounded the problem. The State Pollution Control Board has also inspected the plant and surroundings and has submitted a separate report to the court.

The Board also termed the situation serious and called for urgent measures to check the pollution. The Vilappil village council had shut the plant and blocked the vehicles bringing waste to the plant last month following failure by the government to solve the problem within the time frame fixed by it.

The high court had appointed the commission on a petition filed by the City Corporation challenging the village council decision. A counsel for the corporation told the court that waste was accumulating in the city since the plant was shut, causing serious health hazards. 


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