Unabated discharge of waste water on roads affects tourism and road safety
When one enters Karnataka from Goa or Kerala on National Highway 66, one would be welcomed by the pungent odour of fish (if not travelling by an air-conditioned vehicle) thanks to fish-laden lorries discharging wastewater on roads.
With transporters and exporters still following the age-old tradition of carrying marine products under the cover of ice, the melted ice along with residues of the marine products get collected in waste tanks fixed at the rear of lorries and mini-goods vehicles.
Hundreds of such vehicles move along NH 66 carrying marine products to different places, including ports in Goa and Mangaluru and also in Kerala.
While Goa and Kerala, which depend on tourism, have prohibited discharge of wastewater from fish-laden lorries on roads, no such enforcement is in place in Karnataka.
Consequently, vehicle operators keep the taps of wastewater tanks open whenever they are within Karnataka splashing the waste along roads and on road users. This is happening despite prohibition of such discharge under Motor Vehicle Rules and other provisions. Same vehicles would ensure that no wastewater discharged when they enter either Goa or Kerala.
Nemu Kottari, a resident near Morgans Gate in Mangaluru, has been complaining to the Police and Transport authorities to end the menace. Mr. Kottary says the wastewater not only polluted the air in the surrounding, but also caused road accidents, particularly involving two-wheeler riders. “If a two-wheeler rider is following such a lorry, he or she is bound to get splashed with wastewater,” he said.
The Tulunada Rakshana Vedike, Mangaluru, too had held many protests against the menace.
Following frequent complaints, the Mangaluru City Police acted upon such vehicles by booking cases. However, once the enforcement was done, fish lorry operators are back to their normal business, Mr. Kottari pointed out.
In-charge Transport Commissioner M.K. Aiyappa told The Hindu that he would issue directions to regional transport officers in the three districts to take action against owners/ drivers of such vehicles.
Meanwhile, Inspector-General of Police (Western Range), Arun Chakravarthy, under whom the three coastal districts fall, too said he would direct superintendents of police to act against offending vehicles. Such a practice could not be tolerated, he told The Hindu .