River Pollution in Kerala

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All 44 rivers in Kerala are highly polluted due to inflow of untreated domestic, industrial wastes and agriculture runoff. Most of the industries are near the thickly populated riversides, often near cities and towns. There is no efficient water treatment system in industries and city municipalities. Pollution level in some of the sites is far above permissible limits.

Close proximity of increasing numbers of leach pit latrines under varying soil conditions, late rite (midland) and sandy soils (coastal area); • Non point sources of pollution in the catchment area including possible agricultural and surface run off, especially during the rainy season; • Washing, bathing and other domestic activities around the open dug well sources, especially among the low income communities; • Inadequate and irregular disinfection of drinking water supplies, including chlorination under KWA schemes; • Inadequate testing and irregular monitoring of drinking water quality.

Nobody seems to know, that only 15 Km away from Cochin, the “Queen of the Arabian Sea ”, there is Eloor Island, home to Kerala’s largest industrial cluster. Eloor, an island of 11.21 sq/km, on the Periyar River is home to more than 247 chemical industries, including the only DDT-producing facility in India. Most of these units have been here for the last fifty years and use extremely obsolete and polluting technologies. Toxic pollution from heavy metals to chemicals and radioactivity is found in air, soil and in the Periyar River, which spreads the contamination to the Vembanad Lake, Cochin and to the Arabian Sea. This leads to a large-scale devastation of aquatic life in the backwaters, the agricultural land and it is also affecting the health of the population in the area. The soil, water bodies and the wetlands in and around Eloor have been contaminated with heavy metals like zinc, lead, cadmium, chromium and persistent organic pollutants like DDT. Gas emissions let into the air include...
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