Express news service
THOOTHUKUDI: The Thamirabarani River continues to be polluted with untreated sewage and organic waste from villages on its banks.
As World Environment Day is celebrated with the theme of âecosystem restoration,â people urged the state government to take adequate action to restore the health of the river.
The river had been polluted by the direct discharge of sewage, household and solid waste by local communities on the banks of the Thamirabarani and its tributaries. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) notified the section between Pappankulam and Arumuganeri of Thamirabarani (run more than 80 kilometers) as polluted, and classified it as Priority-V, which requires monitoring of locations exceeding the desired water quality of 3 mg / l BOD (biochemical oxygen demand).
According to the action plan recently released by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), the village of Murappanadu, which has a population of 1,556, directly discharges 54 kiloliters per day (KLD) of untreated wastewater into the river near the drinking water pumping station. .
The report states that at least 44.313 MLD (million liters per day) of sewage, including 31.91 MLD from the Tirunelveli Corporation, is discharged into the river. The Tirunelveli company treats 24.2 MLD of wastewater, according to the report.
The TNPCB report also claims that although 145 industries are located on either side of the river in Thoothukudi District, there has been no discharge of commercial industrial effluents into Thamirabarani. The river flows through 214 industries in Tirunelveli.
In 2019, testing of 27 river water samples found the water’s mineral content to meet standards, but seven samples – six from Thoothukudi – did not meet BOD and DO (dissolved oxygen) standards. According to the water quality criteria (WQC), to be safe for swimming, the water must contain 5 mg / l DO, less than 500 number probably / 100 ml of faecal coliforms and 3 mg / l of BOD.
âThe water samples taken at Manimutharu (near the road bridge), Punnakayal (near the fishing port), Eral (back of the MSV landfill) did not meet BOD and DO standards, while Murapanadu, Srivaikuntam, Eral (rear of Cherman temple) The author did not meet BOD standards, âthe report states.
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Across the river course, a water sample collected in the village of Punnakayal, where the river merges with the river, reported the highest level of BOD with 18.35 mg / l, or 6 times the authorized level.
The report points out that the level of BOD increases when domestic wastewater flows into the river. In addition, the activity of Punnakayal fishing port has an impact on the biological quality of the river, according to the report.
It is relevant to recall that a case aimed at restricting the discharge of untreated wastewater into the Thamirabarani River by local organizations has been pending in the southern zone of the National Green Court (NGT) since 2015.
When the case was heard by NGT in February this year, TNPCB reported that local bodies along the river had offered to install sewage treatment plants (STP).
âA high BOD level means the location is not even suitable for bathing,â says retired professor Dr Murugesan from MS University, adding that fecal coliform values ââare underestimated.
Commenting on the TNPCB action plan report, environmental activist SP Muthuraman says the BOD level increases at the end of the river in Thoothukudi, due to the discharge of untreated sewage upstream in Tirunelveli district. .
Executive engineer Thamirabarani Annadurai said local organizations along the river have been urged to set up sewage treatment plants to recycle sewage at the earliest. Wastewater should only be removed after treatment, he says.
However, Muthuraman strongly opposes proposals to discharge treated wastewater into the river.
Muthalankurichi Kamarasu, a petitioner from the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court seeking instructions to control the inflow of sewage, urged the TNPCB to conduct further inspections in Thoothukudi to ensure that quality criteria are met. some water.