Veggies in fields, poison on your plate

Veggies in fields, poison on your plate

Watch what you eat

Veggies in fields, poison on your plate

The City’s periphery, at least a part of it, seems to be growing vegetables rich in harmful substances, thanks to the contaminated water used to grow them.

The water from the reservoir at Byramangala in Ramanagara taluk, in the Vrushabhavati valley, is used to grow vegetables by farmers in the vicinity and these veggies find their way to the City markets.

Farmers of Byramangala and 20 surrounding villages are forced to use water mixed with human waste and harmful chemicals to irrigating their vegetable farms. Baby corn, tender coconut, greens and cattle fodder are grown by them.

Honnappa, a farmer, says they used to grow sugarcane and paddy. But they have stopped it as the chemical content in the water has drastically brought down the yield in the last four years. He says even borewell water is polluted due to the contamination of the water table.

Harmful sludge

Farmers in this region allege that the harmful sludge released by the STP (Sewage Treatment Plant) at Kengeri into the river, after water treatment, along with affluents from nearby areas has compounded the problem. Srinivas, another farmer, says he has stopped growing sugarcane and paddy after the yield dropped drastically in the last few years.

“Now, I have purchased cattle and supply the milk locally,” he says.

However, Basavaraju, Chief Engineer of BWSSB, said, “The sludge collected after water treatment is in solid state and is used as fertiliser for crops.”

Based on the requests of environmentalists and directions from the Lok Adalat, Ramanagara deputy commissioner V Srirama Reddy recently paid a visit to the Byramangala reservoir for inspection.

The services of ‘Jalavahini’ - a Mysore-based NGO - will be used to clean the water from the reservoir, he said. The NGO had been given a month’s time to submit a report on the adverse effects of using contaminated water in farms and to feed cattle and also on an effective strategy to clean River Vrushabhavati, Reddy said.

The deputy commissioner said, “The departments of horticulture, health, animal husbandry and agriculture have also been instructed to submit a report on the issue.”