KOCHI: Expressing concern over the ‘disastrous proportion’ of heavy metals, harmful chemicals and pollutants present in the Periyar, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) - Southern Zone on Monday ordered the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) member secretary to personally appear before it on September 7 and present a status report.
After analysing results of the tests conducted by the National Institute of Inter-disciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST), the NGT Bench comprising P Jothimani and Nagendra Rao observed that the level of pollution in the river was ‘shocking and at a disastrous level’.
“The National Institute of Inter-disciplinary Science and Technology tests conducted in 2012 have proved that water in the river and the associated creeks, including Kuzhikkandam, contained high levels of heavy metals, pesticides and other chemicals,” said K K Ashkar, one of the counsel who appeared for Janajagrata, and Shibu Manuel of Green Action Force, Eloor, who is the petitioner.
“The NGT had almost passed an order to close all the polluting industries in the Eloor-Edayar belt, but obliged to pleas by the KSPCB and the industries not to take the extreme step. The Bench ordered the KSPCB member secretary to present a status report and details of the steps taken to mitigate pollution, on September 7. The NGT warned of stringent steps against the polluting industries if the report was not satisfactory,” said K K Ashkar.
The NIIST analysed water samples from the Periyar, as per a directive by the High Court on a public interest petition filed by Shibu Manuel. The High Court later transferred the case to the NGT.