Thick foam at Cooum mouth raises concern among experts

The thick foam on seawater off the beach along Napier Bridge has become a common sight for the local residents recently. Though the foam indicates the presence of toxins that are harmful to humans, animals and aquatic plants, the authorities are yet to take any action to solve the long-pending problem.
Thick foam at Cooum mouth raises concern among experts
Teenagers playing with the foam at the beach near Napier Bridge on Friday.(Photo: Justin George)

Chennai

Talking to DT Next, G Sundararajan of Poovulagin Nanbargal, a people’s movement, said that, recently, when there was a mass extinction of fish, the Fisheries Department had said that a study would be carried out. “However, we don’t see anything happening. The Cooum River that meets the sea gets highly polluted as soon as it enters the city. In fact, After Thiruverkadu, it is subjected to extreme pollution from municipal waste to industrial effluents,” he said.

Pravakar Mishra of the National Centre for Coastal Research added that high amount of sewage contamination indicates pathological contamination. “Apart from skin infections and gastrointestinal diseases like diarrhoea, it could also cause a lot of harm to the fish produce in the area. He said, “In months like January and February, the blooms are activated by the waves when the temperature is conducive for their growth. Such foaming not only affects humans, but it can also cause fish to choke and die as their gills get clogged because of the sudden proliferation of the phytoplankton.”

Sundararajan indicated that given the harmful effects of the exposure to the foam, the government should step in to take action.

However, the Public Works Department maintained that there were frequent dredging activities carried out. The dredging of the estuary linking the Cooum with the sea to increase the flow of the river into the sea helps avoid accumulation of contaminated water along the course of the river.

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