Poovar’s Dying Beauty

One of Kerala’s most beautiful places is dying, and very little is being done. Poovar- a ethereal tourist attractor located in Thiruvananthapuram, abodes beautiful lakes, hills, and flowering trees.

Since 2018, huge quantities of plastic and electronic-waste (e-waste) has washed ashore in Poovar. Heavy metals from e-waste, such as mercury, lithium, lead, and barium, leach even further into the earth after soil contamination, eventually reaching groundwater. These heavy metals eventually find their way into ponds, streams, rivers, and lakes after reaching groundwater. Even if they are miles distant from a recycling site, these channels cause acidification and toxification in the water, which is harmful to animals, plants, and communities. It becomes difficult to find safe drinking water. Acidification has the potential to kill marine and freshwater creatures, as well as disrupt biodiversity and destroy ecosystems. Such a level of toxicity produced is extremely harmful for human beings too!

A report by Mathrubhumi revealed that “Animal wastes and food wastes from meat shops and hotels are discretely dumped into the sea. Wastes brought in by vehicles are dumped in the uninhabited area near Poovar. Natives of coastal area also dump plastic waste and unusable electronic equipment into the sea. All drainages in these areas are channelled to the sea. The waste washed ashore brings strong odour, and attracts flies and worms.” Several tourists have complained online that excessive motorboats and ferries occupy a major portion of Poovar’swater bodies, that causes severe pollution. Though cleaning drives were launched in Poovar in 2017, the pollutions levels remain stagnant.

The Neyyar river that flows through Poovar is on the brink of its survival. The Indian Express had reported that the river is dotted with huge pits at several places due to sand mining. It would take years for the river to recover from this. And unlike most rivers, industrial pollution is  not the main cause here – most damage to the river has been caused due to the dumping of untreated sewage by local bodies.

More efforts have to be taken to restore Poovar’s exotic water bodies. Let’s work towards preserving Kerala’s beauty!

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