CHENNAI: Setting in motion yet another initiative to redeem the three highly polluted rivers flowing through the city, the National Green Tribunal has asked the Chennai Corporation to prepare a plan for restoration of the Buckingham Canal, Adyar and Cooum Rivers.
Hearing a petition from a city resident praying for protection of the rivers, the southern bench of the tribunal on Friday directed the corporation to submit an action taken report, action plan and time frame for restoration of the three water courses. The petitioner P Edwin Wilson had argued that illegal sand mining, encroachments on the river banks and discharge of effluents into the rivers were the prime reason for the high level of pollution turning the rivers toxic.
The bench comprising judicial member P Jyothimani and expert member G K Pandey also ordered the Chennai Corporation and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) and Public Works Department (PWD) to take strict action against encroachments along the banks of the three rivers.
The petitioner submitted that the government has turned a blind eye to the encroachments and illegal dumping of industrial waste into the rivers, especially in places like Otteri and Pudupet. He also pointed out that the flow of water in the Cooum has been affected by sand mining in the upstream area and its source including Kosathalaiyaru.
Listing the various attempts to clean the Cooum River in the past decades by the government, he said the pathetic condition of the river remained the same. The river is a thriving source for mosquito and other water borne pathogens.
Vijay Pingale, Joint Commissioner of the Corporation, who appeared before the tribunal submitted that already certain measures are being taken to prevent pollution of the rivers in the city. He said the corporation was taking steps to prevent dumping of sewage into storm water drains and also dumping of untreated effluent into the rivers by industrial units.