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Toxic foam spills out from Noyyal near Sulur

Umar Sharieef


A mountain of toxic foam has spilled out from Noyyal river in Coimbatore for the first time this year. This had happened in Noyyal river in Tirupur in September 2017.

The Noyyal river, which rises from the Vellingiri Hills in the Western Ghats, has been overflowing with froth, following the heavy monsoon showers.

Residents of Pattanam Pudhur in Sulur on Monday last woke up to witness toxic foam spilling out of Noyyal in Sulur. “This is not something new to us, whenever there is a heavy shower of rain, this river overflows with foam. We have also taken this issue to the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), but no action has been taken so far,” said Ramanathan, a Sulur resident.

The river is surrounded by textile dyeing and bleaching units in Selvapuram. The effluents from these units are being released into the river causing pollution. The foam in the river, however, doesn’t just asphyxiate, but also causes skin allergies and respiratory ailments.

Local residents said, “We find it difficult to cross the area as the stagnated foam sometimes flies high and falls on us. It smells very bad”.

City based activists along with the residents and farmers of this area have been fighting a losing battle against the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to stop this.

“The toxic foam in the Noyyal river is not just due to the discharge of effluents from the dyeing units, but also from the discharge of 100 MLD sewage into the river daily by the Coimbatore Corporation.. The Corporation collects 200 MLD of sewage daily. However, the sewage treatment plant has the capacity to treat only 100 MLD. Hence the rest is discharged into the river directly”, Manikandan, founder of the NGO Kovai Kulangal Paathukappu Amaippu, toldThe Covai Post.

He added that the local farmers had no choice but to use this river’s polluted waters which adversely affected their crops.

Despite the Madras High Court’s order to close down dyeing units along river basin in 2011, they seem to be still active and the foul smelling froth remains a major threat for the local residents. The Coimbatore Corporation Commissioner was unavailable for a comment on the issue.

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