By Our Staff Correspondent
MYSORE, APRIL 5. Is Cauvery water, the lifeline of the people of Bangalore, Mysore and Mandya, safe for drinking?
The question is doing the rounds in the light of recent reports that large quantities of animal waste and by-products of slaughtered animals are being dumped into the river in a surreptitious manner near Siddapura, about 60 km from the Krishnaraja Sagar reservoir.
While the Karnataka Pollution Control Board has said that the water is potable, the Mysore Agenda Task Force (MATF) plans to take up the issue with the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister.
The disturbing practice of dumping animal waste into the river was videotaped by M. Lakshmana, a member of the MATF, and screened for journalists here today.
The video images showed floating bones and other waste on the bank of the river.
He said the practice was to fill gunny bags with waste, tie a large stone to them and dump them into the river.
Mr. Lakshmana, who interacted with the local people in Siddapura and surrounding places, learnt that the practice has been going on for many years and dumping takes place at least four times a week.
On an average, 800 kg to 1,000 kg of animal waste is dumped into the river, Mr. Lakshmana said.
Dumping on the rise
Citing local people, he said the dumping of animal waste has increased in recent times as cow slaughter takes place to cater for the demands of the neighbouring States, which import only the meat but reject the waste.
Hence, animal waste is dumped into the river, which may carry toxins and is a major health hazard, he said.
Sources in the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board here dubbed the report exaggerated and said that only 10 to 15 bones, which may have been dumped many years ago, were found at the spot. The dissolved oxygen level was found to be between 8 and 8.4, and it is a cause for concern only when the level falls below 4, the sources added.
The Board has directed the local village panchayat to take preventive measures and curb such practices in future and also clear the animal waste detected along the riverbank, sources added.
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