A first-of-its-kind survey in Kerala, based on 58,463 households, has found that an alarming 73% of water sources in the state is contaminated. Of the 3,606 water sources including rivers, streams, ponds, lakes and wells covered by the survey, 26.9% were found to be totally polluted.
The survey was conducted by Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority and its report ‘status of water resources’ was released by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan here on Sunday. According to the report, houses and hotels are the main sources of pollutants
(55.2%) followed by washing of vehicles (20%) and industrial establishments (11%).
Hotels were found to be the main source of solid waste contaminating water sources (40%), while lack of protection walls and sand mining topped the list of reasons for water sources getting endangered.
As solution, the report recommends strict implementation of existing laws, better coordination between various agencies and special waste management projects.
Despite being the land of 44 rivers and a number of lakes, apprehensions are widespread in the state over the fast-depleting safe water sources. Adding to the anxieties, a sample study report on the status of water resources in the state has revealed that 73% of the waterbodies in the state are contaminated.
A first-of-its-kind survey by Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority (KSLMA), covering 3,606 water sources including ponds, streams, public wells and portions of rivers and lakes, has found the only 27% of the sampled sources are safe for use. Alarmingly, 26.9% of water bodies are now totally contaminated, while 46.1% of the sources are partially polluted. Though people were found drawing water from a majority of the partially polluted water bodies for bathing cattle, washing vehicles and farming, the shocking information is that many such contaminated water sources are still being used for direct human consumption also, especially in Wayanad district.
The survey, conducted as part of KSLMA’s environment literacy programme with huge public participation (58,463 houses covered by 25,101 members) has come out with a major document for the Kerala government to take policy decisions and chalk out actions plans, said KSLMA director P S Sreekala. In fact, the report is expected to give the government’s ambitious Haritha Keralam Mission a major boost and a fresh perspective based on facts, as pointed out by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who released the report on Sunday.
The survey, which looked out for major sources of waste that were polluting water bodies, has pointed fingers mainly at households, hotels and restaurants, which together topped the list contributing 55.2% of the total waste. Effluents and other waste from industrial establishments, washing of vehicles and bathing of cattle too were found to contribute significantly towards polluting water sources. As per the report, solid waste, especially from hotels and restaurants, have polluted large water bodies in a big way, while water sources like ponds, wells and streams became endangered largely due to lack of protection walls. Sand mining and encroachment have also been cited as reasons for depletion and deterioration of rivers and other water bodies.
Among the surveyed sources, Palakkad district had the most number of ponds, while Thrissur district topped the list in the number of public wells examined. The most number of streams got covered in Thiruvananthapuram district.