Mettur, 22 May, 2010: Massive fish kills along more than a two km stretch of the River Kaveri all the way from Kaveri Cross (about 3 km from the reservoir) to Chakkanoor Barrage in Mettur has caused considerable concern among local residents and fisherfolk. In two incidents that occurred on 12-13 May and 20-21 May, several tons of fish washed up afloat. While authorities quoted in news media attributed the fish kills to the lack of oxygen in the river water, local fishermen say the oxygen levels plummeted due to a sudden increase in pollution levels.
The region has witnessed some rains over the last week. On 12-13 May, local people report that the Tamilnadu Electricity Board was engaged in some maintenance work at the hydro power generating stations near the barrage. They report the discharge of green oily effluents from the maintenance work at a time when water levels in the River were very low.
On 20-21 May, the water levels were substantially higher, and the local fishermen maintain that it is chemical effluents from upstream that had caused the fish kill. Nearly a 100 polluting industries operate in the region, including the SIDCO Chemical Industrial cluster, Chemplast Sanmar’s four chemical plants, Cabot Sanmar Ltd, and the Tamilnadu Electricity Board and MALCO Ltd’s coal fired thermal power plants.