KOCHI: Following up on a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order to clean up the polluted Periyar, the State Pollution Control Board (PCB) has intensified the monitoring system along the course of the river. The board has introduced a three-tier monitoring system starting from the river’s origin in Idukki.
Special focus will be on the stretch between Aluva and Eloor Ferry, from where several complaints have risen about industrial units discharging effluent directly into the river.“We have constituted multiple monitoring committees which will look into waste dumping, especially bio-medical waste,” said PCB chairman A B Pradeep Kumar.
“Currently, we have Image, the bio-medical waste treatment and disposal facility, at Palakkad. All authorised healthcare units are being asked to tie-up with Image. Two more bio-medical waste treatment facilities are planned in Ernakulam, which will help in solving the issue to a certain extend.”
He said PCB has already issued show-cause notices to many healthcare facilities along the Periyar as per the NGT order issued in 2016. As part of monitoring efforts, a group of officers will monitor/inspect institutions, hospitals, other offices and waste dumping yards within the impression zone limits. The samples collected will be tested to derive a strategic plan to prevent pollution.
The officer said PCB — despite facing a shortage of staff — is trying to intensify the monitoring mechanism. Recently, a Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) team found that most of the industrial units along the Periyar are not complying with the stipulated standards.
Their inspection also revealed that the operation and maintenance of the Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) were either unsatisfactory or poor in almost all the industries.
Environmental activists said that PCB is yet to take any serious step to resolve the pollution issues killing the Periyar. “The Periyar Malineekarana Virudha Samithi (PMVS) has been asking for a collection of data on the material balance of the industrial units situated along the banks of the Periyar. PCB is yet to gather that information, which will throw light on the raw materials used, the amount of waste generated and the effluent discharged by each unit. That is a basic thing. Without that data, how can we formulate a proper plan to save the river?” said Purushan Eloor, an environmental activist and research coordinator with PMVS.