PCB rules out iron contamination as cause of Periyar discolouration

Presence of heavy metals not confirmed yet on Edayar stretch

The Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has ruled out iron contamination as the reason for the frequent discolouration of the Periyar on its Edayar stretch.

Greens had pointed out the needle of suspicion on industrial units in the upstream of the river for the water turning red or turbid on six occasions in the past three months. However, board officials in Ernakulam claimed that they could not detect the presence of iron in the water samples collected during the reported incidents. “Without ascertaining the presence of iron, we would not be able to initiate action against companies suspected to be behind the unauthorised discharge,” they said.

The Edayar stretch of the river had been hit by the increasing incidents of water discolouration, especially in the time of heavy rain. Local residents had pointed out that illegal effluents were discharged through unauthorised outlets into the river. The latest incident of the discolouration of the river stretch near the Edayar industrial region was on Friday.

Board officials admitted that they were not able to confirm the presence of other heavy metals in the samples as it needed to be tested at its central laboratory here. The delay in the renovation of the lab had affected the timely completion of the analysis of the samples collected at the time of discolouration, they said.

The surveillance against the illegal discharge of effluents into the river was hit after the CCTVs kept in the region had turned defunct. The board admitted that there was delay in resolving the issue. Officials said that the delay occurred as they can only purchase the cameras from Keltron and not from private vendors. Orders have been placed for buying seven surveillance cameras with night-vision facility. There will be spare cameras too in case any of these units stop working or develop technical snag, they said.

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