Air quality too, to be monitored at five spots, during Deepavali

It’s a busy time of year for officials of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB). A week head of Deepavali, they have begun measuring levels of noise and ambient air quality at five places in the city. Monitoring stations have been established in thickly-populated areas like Besant Nagar, T. Nagar, Sowcarpet, Nungambakkam and Triplicane to collect dust samples before, during and after the festival. According to an official, noise levels will be recorded for six hours every evening and pollution levels, every 24 hours from 6 a.m.

Says immersion of Vinayaka idols has polluted the Mookeneri Lake

Taking moral responsibility that he was not able to save the picturesque Mookeneri Lake, here, from a bunch of polluters, who immersed idols of Lord Vinayaka, made of plaster of Paris and toxic dyes in it, a Salem-based environmentalist V. Piyush Sethia, Convener, Salem Citizens’ Forum, which resurrected the lake into a throbbing water spread that was once a PWD’s cesspool, ‘surrendered’ before a Salem judicial court here on Monday.

A total of 192 star tortoises that were seized while being smuggled out of the country have found a new home in the Sathyamangalam forests.

A total of 497 tortoises were confiscated in different incidents and handed over to Arignar Anna Zoological Park at Vandalur near Chennai for rehabilitation. The Forest Department, in association with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), carried out the rehabilitation process at the zoological park for a few months.

The State Government has sought a detailed Action Taken Report (ATR) from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) on the pollution allegedly caused by various chemical industries to water bodies including River Cauvery, and villages and hamlets in and around Mettur.

In response to the Madras High Court’s direction, N. Thirumurthy, Deputy Secretary, Department of Environment and Forests, Government of Tamil Nadu asked the TNPCB Chairman to “send an action taken report on the complaints of pollution (due to chemical industries in and around Mettur) to Government immediately.”

Social activists have urged the State government to order a detailed investigation into the “vanishing hills and hillocks and pristine waterbodies” of Salem district, which fall prey to mindless and illegal mining for commercial purposes.

Saying that the loss to the State exchequer would run to Rs.1000 crore, members of ‘Speak Out Salem,’ a forum that highlights public interest issues, has blamed the contractors and subcontractors of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for “swallowing up” many a hillock that once dotted the district’s skyline and for destroying its lakes, the livelihood resources of farmers and villagers.

A gang on Wednesday allegedly threatened and abused a group of activists and farmers campaigning against chemical industries causing pollution in the Cauvery, in hamlets around Gonur village at Mettur.

The activists have been campaigning since August 13 to urge the residents of Gonur, where the chemical factories are located, to attend the gram sabha meeting on Independence Day to take up the pollution issue.

For the first time in the State, under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS), work is on to interlink 49 lakes in the district to reduce persistent water shortage and remove the imbalance in water availability.

Traditional water bodies in 16 village panchayats in the district have different sources of water including from hills, rivers and streams that are spread across a wide area and cater only to requirements of a particular area. Hence, the district administration decided to divert water from surplus areas to water scarce zones through interlink water channels.

Pamphlets with details on anti-larval operations distributed

To create awareness on chikungunya, health officials on Monday carried out door-to-door campaign, conducted fogging operations and distributed pamphlets at Achankuttapatti in Ayothiyapattinam block, near Salem. Of the total 350 families with 1,540 persons in Adi Dravidar Colony, over 300 were suffering from fever and joint pains for the past 10 -15 days. Health officials on Sunday collected samples and distributed medicines to all the villagers.

To harvest rainwater, 150 check dams would be constructed in the district, Minister for Highways and Minor Ports Edapadi K. Palaniswami said here on Sunday.

Inaugurating the newly-constructed Primary Agricultural Co-operative Credit Society at Rs. 17.07 lakh in Vellalapatti in Omalur taluk, Mr. Palaniswami said that preserving rainwater would enable the rise in ground water level, solve drinking water problems and provide adequate water supply for agricultural activities.

The farmers of Salem district have urged the State and Central governments to provide them ‘adequate’ compensation since they fear that farming activities would come to a standstill in their lands once the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) completes the ambitious Kochin – Bangalore natural gas pipeline project.

Of the 310 kilometre-long underground pipeline that passes through the districts of Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, Salem and Krishnagiri, as many as 70 km of pipeline traverses through 28 villages in Salem district, mainly through Sankagiri and Omalur taluks.

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