KOCHI: Be it United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals or the Social Progress Index, Kerala tops almost all development indices. Yet the state cuts a sorry figure when it comes to disposing of sewage.
Of the 2,552 million litres of sewage generated everyday in the state, only 152.97 million litres per day are treated resulting in bulk (94%) of the refuse being dumped in open fields and waterbodies. Though the state government, through the Kerala Suchitwa Mission, has devised a comprehensive scheme for setting up Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in all districts in the state to scientifically dispose of the sewage from government hospitals and other public utilities, nothing concrete has taken shape in the past one year. Studies by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) have found high presence of faecal coliform in a few rivers in the state.
Kerala Suchitwa Mission Director (Operations) Philip P D said they have initiated steps to set up STPs in all taluk headquarters in the state. “We are in the process of preparing Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for STPs. The DPRs for 10 plants have been finalised and soon, tenders will be called for allocating the work for constructing the STPs in 10 taluks,” he said.
KSPCB member-secretary Sreekala S said they have given strict direction to all local bodies to set up STPs to treat sewage from public utilities for proper disposal. Even the Central Pollution Control Board had directed all states to instruct local bodies responsible for sewage management to submit time-bound action plan for collection, transportation and treatment of sewage generated in urban areas.
Officials of local bodies cite shortage of land as one of the main reasons for the delay in setting the STPs.
Of the 2,552 million litres of sewage generated every day in the state, only 152.97 million litres are treated per day.
A KSPCB study report on river Periyar revealed that faecal coliform level in Periyar was well over the permissible limit of 500 mpn per 100ml.