Environmentalists have raised concerns over the accumulation of a frothy discharge seen near the Pathalam regulator cum bridge in Ernakulam district on Sunday. A layer of white frothy foam was visible above the waters near the bridge. Environmentalists allege that the discharge of effluents from nearby industries is the reason behind this recent incident of river pollution.
After complaints by residents and green activists, Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) officials in Eloor and Binanipuram police personnel visited some industries along the spot on Sunday.
“We visited three companies and found that effluents were discharged from a fish processing unit in the area. We asked them to halt their work at once,” an official from the Binanipuram police station told TNM.
The police have not registered any case against the factory. “So far we have not been directed by the KSPCB to file a case,” the official added.
Though KSPCB officials collected samples of the effluents released by the fish processing unit into the river, members of Jana Jagratha, an organisation that works for the protection of rivers, alleged that samples were not taken properly.
“We had accompanied the officials during the inspection. The pollution control board officials took samples of the effluents without adhering to the statutory norms that are to be followed while collecting samples. According to the norms, samples should be sealed at the spot in front of everyone. But this was not done,” Jana Jagratha member Muhammed Iqbal told TNM.
Though some environmental activists contacted the KSPCB’s surveillance centre in Eloor on Monday to find the results of the sample analysis, there was no reply.
The green activists also alleged that a leather factory functioning in the area was causing pollution too. “We could not find any effluents being released from the leather factory by the time we reached there. But the discharge from the leather factory looked similar to the pollutants that had settled above the water near the Pathalam bridge,” said Mahesh Kumar, another member of Jana Jagratha.
It is not the first time that environmental activists have raised concerns about pollution in the Periyar river. Fish deaths are a frequent issue in parts of the river in this region. About 10 days ago, hundreds of fishermen had conducted a protest march to the KSPCB surveillance centre in Eloor. They had cited the inaction of officials as the reason behind the frequent fish deaths in the Periyar river.
Meanwhile CP Usha, chairperson of Eloor municipality, told TNM that the shutters of the regulator cum bridge were opened on Sunday to release water. “Because of that, the pollutants have been cleared near the bridge. But this is not a permanent solution. KSPCB should take action after the results of samples collected come out,” Usha said.
The shutters are usually closed during the summer months to regulate the water level of the river.