Periyar river's pollution is Eloor's bane

Sunday 15 October 2006

PRAVEEN SANKERA PEOPLE’S Right Declaration Convention held on September17, 2006, at Eloor — a small island on the Periyar river — in Kerala, which has been identified as one of the toxic hotspots in the world, came down heavily on the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) for failing to check the indiscriminate discharge of hazardous effluents into the river by 250 factories in the Udyogamandal industrial estate. The convention was held 10 days after contaminated water from the Periyar flowed upstream triggering a scare that it might get into the drinking water supply through the local pumping station in Eloor. The meeting, attended by politicians, trade union leaders, legislators, environmental activists and scientists, was organised by the Periyar Malineekarana Virudha Samithy (PMVS), a group of people agitating against the pollution of the Periyar. The focus was to highlight the local community’s rights to life, food security and safe environment. “The KSPCB has degenerated into an ineffective bureaucracy. It lacks the will, commitment and right perspective to control pollution. The board should be revamped immediately,” said Eloor MP K Chandran Pillai. The inaction by the board on a report submitted by the Local Area Environmental Committee (LAEC) that looked into the pollution of the Periyar and suggested remedial steps was also highlighted. The LAEC report revealed that the soil, the river and the wetlands in and around Eloor were contaminated with metals like zinc, lead, cadmium, chromium and organic pollutants like DDT. “The situation has not improved a bit,” says Purushan Eloor of PMVS. “We have conducted several health surveys. Around 80 per cent of the people have respiratory ailments. Also, incidents of miscarriages and congenital defects have increased.” A people’s charter of demands called for issuing medical cards to those affected for free medical aid; halt on production of DDT and endosulfan by the Hindustan Insecticides Limited and payment of compensation by the Centre and WHO. “The government had set up HIL on WHO’s request. It’s their responsibility to decontaminate the river,” said M A Sakir Hussain, convener of PMVS. The charter also called for the relocation of radioactive materials stocked in underground storages, about one-anda- half metres away from the river, by India Rare Earths Ltd.

Move from news to views and get in-depth reports on issues that matter to you, every fortnight.
Subscribe now »

We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.

  • seviere action should be taken. iam a 13year old boy i cannot take any action about this so the society should take care about this. Periyar is one of the most epic rivers in kerala, it should be maintained properly. people are requested to support me in this.

    Posted by: Sabarish | one year ago | Reply
  • Authorities should take strict action against the one who contribute in polluting this river.

    Posted by: Manju Geo | 10 months ago | Reply


  • The government should take action against the industries which are polluting the periyar. There is no use of saying any words without any actions.

    Posted by: Ancy | 8 months ago | Reply
Scroll To Top