As large industries settled down in the area, pollution and degradation of the ecology was inevitable. Following are some violations and the impacts of these on the Creek.
The Ennore Creek is choked with violations from all quarters. Some of the most prominent breach of environmental conditions is being carried by Kamaraj Port Limited (KPL) , North Chennai Thermal Power Station (NCTPS) and NTECL’s Vallur Thermal Power Plan. Between illegal dumping of dredged spoils by KPL on salt farms & mud flats, building up of ash deposits on the river bed due to spillage of ash slurry from NCTPS’s pipelines and discharge of toxic coal ash particles from NTECL’s ash pond, the Ennore Creek is dying a slow death.
Encroachments and landfilling for construction coal yards and other allied infrastructure like coal conveyer belts and water pipes that support these industries accelerate the disappearance of the waterbody and plays havoc with the waterflow. The once broad and deep waterway is now narrowed and flattened to a few feet in depth.
Thermal Power plants require large quantities of water for the cooling of the boiler after the production of electricity. In Ennore, the discharge of coolant water from these plants and other petrochemical effluents from the surrounding refineries drastically deprived the marine life and water quality.
Areas of Impact:
Hydrology – The encroachments mentioned above significantly changed the rivers natural flow, reducing the depth along with the water carrying capacity. This increases the risk of flooding at times of strong rains and cyclones. Navigating boats became significantly difficult, leading to an increased number of accidents among fishermen.
Ecology – Erosion of the mangrove forests and the pollution and contamination of the creek made entire species of fish and crab disappear along with local vegetation. The entire stretch of the creek has been reduced to an extra large sewer.
Livelihoods – The disappearance of entire species of fish resource has severely affected the aquatic food chain, thereby reducing the amount of resources available for harvesting. Quality and Commercial viability of the fish has reduced, affecting the food security and income of the fishing community.
Health – Discharge of domestic and industrial effluents into the Ennore creek has resulted in a variety of health effects within the residents in the area. Skin allergies due to coming in contact with contaminants, reduced immunity due to ingesting unhealthy fish and drinking contaminated water, respiratory diseases due to exposure to air pollution, stress due to poverty and loss of livelihoods to name a few. The risk of exposure to diseases such as cancer, TB and other respiratory and skin conditions are on the rise.