Pollution sources of Periyar being identified

A picture of the potential sources of pollution of the Periyar is expected to emerge by January.

The report identifying the sources responsible for the pollution of the river will be filed by the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) in response to a stringent directive from the southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on restoring the river to its original state.

An expert committee appointed by the tribunal has completed survey of the Idukki stretch of the river under the first phase of the project. The collection of samples from the tributaries, streams, and drains on the Thrissur-Ernakulam stretch was completed two days ago.

Besides the board officials, the team consists of representatives from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), and the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority. The third phase of the initiative had focused on the stretch from Aluva to Eloor ferry, covering the industrial areas in Eloor, Edayar, and Kalamassery.

The pollution load assessment is expected to provide information on possible sources of pollution. The physical and chemical analysis of the samples will be done in government labs. Going by the assurance given by the board to the NGT, the expert team will inspect all industrial units, hospitals and other establishments, waste dumping grounds, and drains in the impact zones. The officials will collect samples from all applicable sources. Nearly 10% of the samples will be duplicated for cross-verification by either the CPCB or the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute.

However, the board officials clarified that inspecting all industrial units along the banks of the river would not be viable in the pandemic times. โ€œBut we will definitely look at the polluting industries based on the analysis of the samples,โ€ they said. According to the action plan drafted by the board, the final report on re-mediation of the Periyar covering Idukki, Thrissur and Ernakulam districts will be ready by January 15.

The southern bench of the tribunal had asked the government to speed up rejuvenation of the Periyar by making it pollution-free, along with cleaning up the subsidiary streams and canals. It had asked the authorities to probe whether there was any clandestine method of discharging untreated effluents by industries into the river, by conducting surprise checks.

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