Sewage dumping spells doom for Kottooli wetland

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Dumping of sewage has adversely affected the quality of water in the Kottooli wetland in Kozhikode, polluting water in wells nearby.

Dumping of sewage has adversely affected the quality of water in the Kottooli wetland in Kozhikode, polluting water in wells nearby.
| Photo Credit: K. Ragesh

The Kottooli wetland, one of the five notified wetlands in the State, is increasingly becoming a body of polluted water owing to uncontrolled dumping of sewage and restaurant waste in it. Vigilance put up by residents’ associations, health squad of the Kozhikode Corporation, and the police has not been effective enough in preventing the illegal activity.

“This has been happening for years. The Pachakkil canal, which empties into the Kottooli wetland, is a very convenient location for dumping sewage brought in tankers as it is on an isolated stretch of the national highway,” said M.N. Praveen, councillor of the Civil Station ward, who had recently brought up the issue in the Corporation Council.

The Corporation had recently conducted a mass cleaning drive along the Thondayad-Malaparamba stretch of the national highway, where solid waste dumping is most rampant. The police have started regular patrol on the stretch since then but have not keep it up due to several reasons.

“We had checked the quality of water in the wetland as well as the canal recently under the ‘Thelineerozhukum Navakeralam’ project of the State government and detected the presence of e-coli bacteria in the water beyond the admissible limit. Since the wetland recharges most wells and ponds in the area, they are most likely to be polluted too,” Mr. Praveen said.

Meanwhile, residents’ associations have put up resistance against the illegal waste dumping by deploying night squads. “Sewage dumping is an organised crime. Those resorting to the illegal activity have pilot vehicles to monitor police patrol is over. They are assisted by goons who carry weapons, and to say that we are scared to face them is an understatement,” said P. Jyoti, president of Swaram Residents’ Association at Malaparamba.

The squad had alerted the police and the Corporation health wing on several occasions about tankers dumping sewage, based on which several vehicles were seized by the authorities.

However, Ms. Jyoti felt that waste dumping had stopped recently after the NH widening work began at Malaparamba, probably due to the presence of workers round the clock. “They used to dump three to four loads of sewage every night. Now, they might have found some other less inhabited location for the purpose,” she said.

With a steady rise in illegal waste dumping, the health wing of the Corporation has reconstituted its night squad to work from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Health superintendent K. Pramod said arrangements were being made to set up CCTV cameras at several locations.

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