KOCHI: The Periyar turned ‘red’ once again in the Eloor-Edayar industrial belt on Saturday morning, creating panic among the local people.
It is suspected that the discolouration was caused by industrial effluents released into the river through hidden discharge outlets. However, an examination conducted by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) did not find unusual discharge of effluents, stressing the need for a detailed investigation into the frequent incidents of discolouration of the river, which is the primary source of drinking water for thousands of people.
According to local people, discolouration of the water, apparently caused by pollutants, was noticed around 8.00 am on Saturday near the Pathalam regulator-cum-bridge, which continued until 3.00 pm. This is the tenth such incident in a month. “Despite frequent incidents of excessive discharge of chemical effluents into the river, which is used by thousands of people for drinking water and agriculture, the KSPCB’s approach is lackadaisical, which is highly deplorable,” said Dr G D Martin of Janajagrata, Eloor. “The Board tests only the PH value and iron content, and does not bother to collect samples from the bottom of the river where the discolouration is more apparent,” he said.
KSPCB environment engineer, Eloor, Lillykkutty Jacob said the tests conducted by the Board had found nothing unusual. “The water samples collected from the river were well with in the set parameters. We are monitoring the water on a daily basis, and have not found anything unusual,” she said, adding that frequency of discolouration had increased in the past few weeks, which demanded an investigation. Last month, an expert team from the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute had collected samples from the river, and from the premises of the companies functioning on the banks of the river, following a NGT order.