Waste from labs of Tripura University drains into a lake
Tripura Central University doesn't need to worry about tonnes of waste that its science laboratories generate every day. Or so it seems. The university has turned a lake within its premises into a dumpsite. Several people within and outside the university depend on the lake. These people are worried.
B Dinda, head of the Chemistry department, says his department generates about 40 litres of liquid chemical waste every day. It is discharged into a drain, without any treatment, and ends up into the lake. Other departments--zoology, physiology--also discharge wastes that include remains of animals under study, and medicines. Chemicals including arsenic salts, halogen acids, pyridine, picoline and benzene, also get drained in the lake, the source of which is rainwater.
The lake feeds a tube well in the university complex and four others on the outskirts of the state capital.About 2,000 students, 500 employees, 100 university residents and more than 700 people outside the university complex use this water for drinking, said S L Roy, executive engineer at the public health engineering department.
More than a hundred families also use its water for paddy cultivation. Roy, however, adds that the department hadn't considered the risk of groundwater contamination yet. Students use the lake to swim too and this could result in any kind of infection, said Laxman Debnath, general secretary of the student council.
Admitting the problem, Arunodoya Saha, vice chancellor of the university, said they hadn't really gauged the urgency of the issue correctly. He also blamed "financial crunch" until before 2007 for the situation. The university attained the central status in 2007 and more than Rs 500 crore was allotted for the development of the institution. And now, Rs 3.15 crore has been earmarked for its development, which includes cleaning of the water and protection of the water body from external contamination.
"We are planning to set up separate sock piths (a covered cemented dumping tank connected with the drain) for the chemistry and life sciences departments. We will also streamline the solid waste management system," said Saha. But before that, official records revealed that when the university came up in 1987, thousands of crores of rupees was spent on infrastructure, which did not have any waste management plan.
|Just waste no management plan|
|BAPI ROY CHOUDHURY|
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