VIJAYAWADA: The three irrigation canals passing through the city of late have become streams of pollution, with unchecked dumping of garbage and effluents into them. With this, the dreams of Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu to develop waterways in Ryves, Eluru and Bandar canals and promote tourism got shattered and it may take a few more years to realise the project. Though Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) is focusing on city beautification work and canal bund renovation, the issue of the canal pollution seems to be not getting the attention it requires. Several people who made their homes and commercial establishments on the banks of canals dump huge amount of non-degradable waste into the irrigation canals as there is no proper solid waste management programme in the city. The pollution levels are in such a way that posing a serious threat to the agriculture lands in the district.
Waste dumped into these canals have blocked the natural flow at major points in the city. Piling up of garbage is seen under the bridges of the canals resulting in emanation of pungent smell. Farmers in the district have already taken this issue to the notice of officials at all levels. The VMC has arranged iron fencing on the bridges to avoid indiscriminate dumping of waste into the canals. However, the move has not yielded any positive result and the problem is still persisting at the ground level.
Sufficient number of sign boards are not even arranged at major points near the canals cautioning public not to throw the waste into canals. “We have explained the canals pollution issue to the senior officials in the VMC and district administration during grievance redressal meetings. But no concrete efforts have been taken up to address the problem,” charged K Ganapathi Rao, a farmer and a resident of Ramavarappadu. The agriculture sector is already facing serious issues including pollution caused by the textile processing and tannery units. Dumping of garbage is yet another problem, he rued.
There is no system to collect, process and reuse plastic waste. People throw waste into canals and drains which results in clogging of water bodies, said K Jyothirmai, an environmentalist. Coupled with the corporation’s ineffective pre-monsoon cleaning works, it leads to waterlogging in the city during heavy rains. She also pointed out that the corporation has not seriously considered the issue of disposal of sanitary waste. “As there is no proper facility to dispose it, the waste is often thrown into the drains and canals. There is a need to create public awareness on health hazards caused by such practice,” she said.
On the other hand, health wing officials of the VMC said that controlling pollution levels in the irrigation canals has become a herculean task for the civic body. ‘’ The irrigation department has suspended the water flow from Krishna river to eastern main canal to speed up the ongoing works of Kanaka Durga flyover. Tonnes of plastic and other waste are choking the canals. Measures will be taken to clear the piled up waste in canals to prevent breeding of mosquitoes,’’ said a senior health official of VMC.
Canals in city highly polluted
Colonies and localities along the three major canal bunds in the city causing pollution to the water bodies
Devi Nagar- Budameru Canal
Gulabi Thota-Ryves Canal
Samba Murthy Road- Ryves Canal
Papulamilli Center- Budameru Canal
Pasupu Thota Colony- Budameru Canal
Nehru Nagar- Ryves Canal