KOCHI: The sediments removed from the Kuzhikandam canal and deposited on the roadsides and nearby fields is posing a health hazard as its samples have revealed a high level of pesticides and heavy metals in a lab test.
The sediments were removed as part of the pre-monsoon cleaning activities initiated by the Irrigation department and Eloor municipality. Depositing these sediments on the roadside and nearby fields violates the directions of the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal.
Following the lab test findings, the Pollution Control Board (PCB) has instructed to stop the cleaning drive and safely dispose of the sediments. “The National Green Tribunal had directed the state government to form a high-level monitoring committee to clean the canal and ensure that no industry in Eloor discharges toxic effluents into the canal.
The tribunal had directed in its order issued on May 27, 2022, to complete the works within a year. The estimated cost of the cleaning work is Rs 26 crore, and the state government has deposited Rs 11.22 crore at the SBI Pattom branch for the purpose,” said Purushan Eloor, the research coordinator of the Campaign against Pollution of Periyar.
The government should prosecute the officers of the irrigation department and Eloor municipality for violating the tribunal order and carelessly depositing the toxic sediments on the road, he said.
The environment activists had tested the samples collected from the sediments at a private lab, and the results revealed high levels of toxic pesticide and heavy metal content.
While the permissible level of DDT is 0.01%, the sample contained 493 mg of pesticide. The content of BHC was 17.36 mg. The cadmium, lead, iron, nickel, manganese, copper, chromium and cobalt level was also high.
Responding to the allegations, Eloor municipal chairman A D Sujil said the cleaning work was taken up to avoid waterlogging during monsoon. “The cleaning work was taken up to ensure smooth water flow during monsoon. We will look into the allegations and remove the sediments as per the directions of the PCB,” he said.