Saturday, May 12, 2012

Tirupur’s Famous Five into ‘Save Noyyal Mission’

Water and soil are vital life-sustaining natural resources for the existence of mankind. Our country has some of the richest lands available for cultivation and yet we relentlessly pollute it.

Take for example the dilapidated state of the Noyyal river in Tirupur — a river that has great historical significance but has been reduced to a highly contaminated 70-kilometre stretch.

That was before five students from the PEM School of excellence at Tirupur decided to take charge. They not only raised awareness around the issue, but were instrumental in the shutting down polluting dyeing units in Tirupur.

Living along the Noyyal river belt, all five students were well aware of the difficulties faced due to the contaminated water.

Keerthana J who stayed in the worst-affected village because of pollution in the river was the first to raise this issue to her guide. She shared, “Twenty years of chemicals being dumped into the river from dyeing factories has led to the land around Kathanganni, my village, turning barren and infertile.

Farmers were left helpless because of this. I took this issue to my guide Mr Eashwaran, who told me what I could do to help ease the situation.”

She continued, “I got four other classmates Nimisha Parveen B, Geethanjaly M.T, Suruthi R and Ashwin Balaji S, and worked on a project that we submitted for the National Children’s Science Congress.

The project was a study on the Noyyal river and the resulting pollution of soil and water along 70 kms of the river belt. In a way, it sparked a fire in us to go all the way to ensure its revival. We did a simple test by growing 5 different plants in water from a well near the river and from tanks.

We also took water samples from the area around our university. We then took water samples from each tank and headed to Coimbatore Agricultural University where results proved that the water was heavily contaminated with dyeing agents, and that the Ph value of the water far exceeded normal levels for even minimal life.”

The spunky youngsters next connected the concerned Government bodies and informed them about the issue.

They got across to the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, addressed a letter to the chief minister’s cell, and even met with the mayor of Tirupur. “In 2011, the Madras high court passed an order to have all dyeing units shut down in Tirupur.”

“It took us almost two years of taking samples, doing tests and educating people on the issue, but it taught us a lot too,” said Keerthana.

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