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Public build bund to stop pollution

NEW INDIAN EXPRESS
Friday February 10 2006

CHENNAI: The public at Kattukuppam on Thursday constructed bunds across Buckingham Canal to stop polluted water from entering Kotroli River mouth at Ennore.

"There are more than 15 outlets into the canal from different industrial units releasing untreated effluents. The polluted canal in turn pollutes the river," says Mahalingam, a local environmental activist.

"We find dead fish in large numbers in the river," he says pointing out that the lives of fishermen in more than three villages have been affected.

"Nowadays, we do not get a good catch of fish, neither from the sea nor from the river. We have made several representations to the concerned authorities, but no action has been taken," Mahalingam said.

Faced with this situation, the public decided to construct makeshift bunds across the Buckingham Canal, using sand bags.

"The water in the canal looks really black and a bad smell emanates from it," said Dharmesh of an environmental NGO.

As many as 200 persons were involved in constructing the makeshift bund but it could not stop polluted water from the canal entering the river.

Learning of the fishermen’s plight, officials of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) visited the site and collected water samples from the canal. A team of five officials inspected the terrain leading to the river mouth and also the outlets opening into the canal.

"The chances of release of industrial effluents is less. The problem seems to be that of untreated sewage release to the canal. However, we have collected water samples and can come to a conclusion only after the tests," a top official from TNPCB, told this website’s newspaper.

According to the official, the stench emanating from the river was due to a chemical reaction of acetic acid in lower temperature.

"Buckingham Canal contains putrefied matter. So, the water contains acetic acid and this reacts to release Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S), a gas with the smell of rotten eggs. The public might have mistaken this smell and colour of the water in the canal to be highly polluted," the official said.

He said the problem could be solved only by purifying the canal. Release of untreated effluents would initiate action from TNPCB, he assured.

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