Pollution in Cauvery posing health hazards, say experts

Water hyacinth in Cauvery River near Wesley Bridge in Srirangapatna of Mandya district. (Right) Sewage water drained into River Cauvery in Srirangapatna.

River Cauvery is the lifeline of Mandya district, irrigating thousands of hectares of agricultural lands, and also quenching the thirst of the people of Mandya, Mysuru, Bengaluru and other places. However, the river is polluted due to the growing human greed and negligence, posing a grave hazard to human health.

According to experts, the water gets polluted during its journey from Kodagu, its origin, to Mandya and is not fit to be used for even domestic chores. With drains connected to the river, there is a wild growth of water hyacinth, affecting aquatic life.

Experts say, chicken waste is being disposed into the river near Kushalnagar and the sewage water from Mysuru joins it between Naguvanahalli-Chandagala villages. Besides, factories located on the outskirts of Mysuru city are allegedly letting their effluents into the river. Add to it, the drains in Srirangapatna are directly connected to the river.

Moreover, environmentalists opine that the water gets even more polluted due to the rituals performed for one’s ancestors (pinda dhaana) at Paschimavahini and at Sopanakatte, when clothes, puja items and materials used for the rituals are dumped into the river.

The water hyacinth poses a threat to the aquatic species in the river as it absorbs large quantities of water, resulting in depletion of oxygen. These plants also attract mosquitoes and snakes. As sewage water gets mixed, the plants can be seen at various places in the river, said R K Patil, Agriculture scientist from Dharwad University, who has taken up a research on River Cauvery.

Swachhata andolan

Various organisations, led by scholar Banuprakash Sharma has taken up the ‘Cauvery Swachchata Andolana’ at Srirangapatna to prevent pollution. Shashwatha Dharmika Kriya Samiti, Abhinava Bharatha, and Cauvery Arathi Acharana Samiti regularly take up cleaning of the river during the weekends. The volunteers have cleaned the river near Wesley bridge, Paschimavahini, Nimishamba temple and other places during the past one month.

Banuprakash Sharma alleged that blood from meat shops at Bylakuppe gets mixed into the river every day. “There are 35 poultry shops on the river banks at Kushalnagar, which dispose the waste into the river. There are around 42 factories on the outskirts of Mysuru that let their effluents into the river. I have produced the evidence to the authorities concerned. A river authority for River Cauvery should be formed on the lines of Ganga authority for maintaining cleanliness and hygiene of Dakshina Ganga,” he said.

A delegation will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and submit a memorandum in this regard, he added.

K S Lakshmeesh of Abhinava Bharatha said, the river flushes out pollutants when it is in spate. However, in recent days, the inflow is not sufficient and even the Krishnaraja Sagara (KRS) dam has not reached its maximum level. The residents of Srirangapatna, Ganjam and surrounding villages are constantly complaining of jaundice, cold and cough. They are gripped by fear of dengue and malaria, due to mosquitoes. Hence, the volunteers have formed the Cauvery team to take up cleaning of the river, he added.

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Pollution in Cauvery posing health hazards, say experts

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