CHENNAI: Following the multi-agency study that revealed threats faced by the Muttukadu estuary, the State government has charted a four-pronged plan to save the water body from an imminent death.
The study was undertaken after a news report by Express brought to light studies that recorded a poisonous algal bloom in Muttukadu lake, which is destroying aquatic life, and thus affecting the livelihood of hundreds of fishermen from the surrounding villages. The study by Chennai Metro Water, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority and Fisheries Department revealed that the algal bloom was due to pollution from various sources, made worse by the closure of the mouth of the estuary, which prevented the access to sea water, said a senior official source.
During their inspections, the team found that about 900 kilolitres of sewage is being dumped into the water by around 500 tanker lorries from nearby areas.
It also revealed that multi-storeyed buildings in three locations are letting out the waste upstream. The locations include Okiyambedu, South Buckingham Canal and chain of Pallikaranai tanks where treated or untreated water is let out. The State government has asked the Public Works Department to keep the mouth of the estuary open all 365 days so that the pollution subsides and the poisonous algal bloom disappears. This will result in fish visiting the backwaters again, thus providing livelihood to the fishermen.
The Chennai Metro Water will construct two MLD sewage treatment plants near Muttukadu so that lorries carrying sewage can release it at these plants.
Also, the PWD has been directed to erect barriers to prevent dumping into Muttukadu, and instead divert lorries to the Perungudi Sewage Treatment Plant.
The government has also ordered the local bodies to identify the source of pollution upstream in the Buckingham Canal and come up with inception and diversion projects. Besides this, PWD has been asked to erect signboards prohibiting sewage lorries from releasing waste into the backwaters.