THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kallar river, one of the tourist attractions in the district, is fast becoming a dumping ground for plastic and food waste. Residents allege that some of the tourists who visit the place dump beer bottles, plastic, poultry and food waste in the area. According to Suresh K, a resident, a small section of the tourists who come to the area specifically for consuming liquor, dispose of the bottles in the river. “Around 100 tourists visit the river daily and pollute the same.
Locals use the water for drinking purposes,” said Suresh. Shobana M, ward member, Manali, Vithura grama panchayat, said that the problem persists despite informing the Excise Department about the bottles being dumped. Even though a cleaning drive involving the panchayat members, locals and the Forest Department was carried out in the area a month ago, the dumping of plastic waste still continues to be a major issue.
“The stretches from Anappara-Manali and Anappara-Kallar were cleaned during the drive. Poultry and food waste was collected from the area during the cleaning drive,” she said. “Although we had cleaned both sides of the road earlier, it was littered with plastic waste within days,” said B Muraleedharan Nair, ward member, Kallar, Vithura grama panchayat. A lack of monitoring in the areas that do not fall under the eco-tourism zones was one of the reasons pointed out by the residents for the plastic menace.
“Presently, tourists are checked only at the Kallar junction and the Meenmutty waterfalls,” said a resident.
The forest authorities, however, allayed the fears of the tourists contributing to the pollution of the river and its adjacent areas. According to Ajith Kumar, district forest officer (Palode area), the guides who accompany the tourists are paid a small amount for collecting plastic bottles in the area that falls under the Forest Department. “Weekly collection of plastic waste is carried out. Although monitoring is done only in the land under the Forest Department, waste is collected from other public areas,” he said.