Village areas with fewer number of houses and poor surveillance being targeted
The acute threat of Shigella bacterial infection and various other waterborne diseases in the district has not been a deterrent to those dumping septic tank waste collected from various urban households into rivers in rural areas.
The agencies thriving in the business are now mostly targeting village areas where there are fewer number of houses and, hence, lesser surveillance. With the police stepping up vigil and night patrolling, their activities within the city corporation limits have been reduced to a large extent.
“Now, the isolated village areas in Nanmanda panchayat are the most vulnerable spots. Giant tanker lorries are being used to unload huge quantities of septage collected from various hospitals and flats. A few days ago, one such big tanker was unloaded at the Kallukandi drinking water project,” said Vijeesh Tharayi, a resident. He said the villagers were yet to take up the issue seriously.
The low-lying and isolated areas near Poonoor, Iruvazhinji, Cherupuzha, Mambuzha, Korapuzha and Kuttiyadi rivers are also being used by illegal agencies to dump septic waste. Most vehicles used for the business do not have registration number or legal documents. Even if they are caught red-handed, the driver and other workers abandon the vehicle and escape.
A Health Department official said it was turning out to be part-time work for youths from neighbouring districts. “To avoid tracing the identity and other whereabouts, such operators follow a mutli-level booking system where a number of agents share the profit. As of now, they charge about ₹8,000 for clearing a small tank of septage,” he added.
Health Department officials said there were people who depended on various rivers for bathing. Even super-chlorination would not help purify contaminated water in larger areas, they added. According to them, the only way to prevent the contamination of waterbodies was to intensify local-level vigil and night surveillance by residents’ collectives.
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