KOCHI: The burial of an elephant, which reportedly died of anthrax in Perumbavoor on Thursday, has kicked up a controversy. There are allegations that the pachyderm was buried, near the Muvattupuzha river, unscientifically and could pose a threat of polluting the river, a source of potable water in the district.

Rivers in the southwest coast of India are under immense pressure due to various kinds of human activities among which indiscriminate extraction of construction grade sand is the most disastrous one. The situation is rather alarming in the rivers draining the Vembanad lake catchments as the area hosts one of the fast developing urban-cum-industrial centre, the Kochi city, otherwise called the Queen of Arabian Sea. The Vembanad lake catchments are drained by seven rivers whose length varies between 78 and 244 km and catchment area between 847 and 5,398 km2.