Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

Periyar River and Industrial Pollution


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Periyar River and important places in its catchment

Why in the News?

  • A mass fish kill struck the Periyar River, the ‘Lifeline of Kerala’.
    • The incident, believed to be caused by industrial pollution from the Edayar Industrial Area, has caused immense loss to fish farmers and disrupted the local ecosystem.

About Periyar River

Length Approximately 244 kilometers (151 miles)
Source of the river Originates in the Sivagiri hills of Sundaramala, Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu
Mouth of the River Empties into the Arabian Sea at Aluva, near Kochi, Kerala
Flow Through Flows through Idukki, Ernakulam, and Thrissur districts in Kerala
Major Tributaries Muthirapuzha, Cheruthoni, Edamalayar
Key Hydroelectric Projects Idukki Dam (one of Asia’s highest arch dams), other significant dams include Mullaperiyar Dam
Ecological Conservation Supports diverse ecosystems, passes through Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary (notable for elephants and tigers)
Cultural Significance The ancient port of Muziris, is believed to have been located near the mouth of the Periyar.
Environmental Challenges Faces pollution from industrial discharge and urban waste; water management disputes, especially related to the Mullaperiyar Dam’s safety and water sharing between Kerala and Tamil Nadu

Threats to Periyar River

  • The lower reaches of the Periyar are heavily polluted. Industries in the Eloor industrial zone discharge waste into the river.
  • Greenpeace India describes the lower Periyar as “a cesspool of toxins, which have alarming levels of deadly poisons like DDT, endosulfan, hexa and trivalent chromium, lead, cyanide, BHC”.
  • Illegal sand mining from the Periyar is another major environmental issue.


[2011] With reference to the Indus river system, of the following four rivers, three of them pour into one of them which joins the Indus direct. Among the following, which one is such river that joins the Indus direct?​

(a) Chenab

(b) Jhelum

(c) Ravi

(d) Sutlej

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