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Socioeconomic Implications of Water Pollution in an Urban Environment A Case Study in Meda Ela Catchment, Kandy, Sri Lanka

Authors:

AWGN Abeygunawardane,

Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, LK
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NDK Dayawansa ,

Department of Agricultural Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, LK
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S Pathmarajha

Department of Agricultural Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, LK
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Abstract

Meda Ela is a tributary of Mahaweli river. It has a complex catchment area with diverse type of land uses including densely populated urban areas. With urbanization and population pressure, Meda Ela is increasingly getting polluted due to direct disposal of solid waste, grey and black water. Polluted water from this tributary ultimately drains into the Mahaweli River which is the main source of drinking water for Kandy city and the suburbs. The objective of this study was to assess the socio-economic implications of water pollution in Meda Ela. A structured questionnaire survey was conducted with a randomly selected sample of 100 households within the 18 Grama Niladari Divisions (GNDs) of the catchment area to collect primary data. In addition, people from small businesses, commercial and public establishments such as small restaurants, central market, hospitals, etc. were interviewed to collect necessary data to identify impacts of water pollution on them and their opinion on pollution of Meda Ela water. Focused group discussions, and a number of key informant interviews were also held to gather relevant information. The results show that the level of water pollution is high in Meda Ela due to unplanned and inadequate waste disposal facilities and indifferent attitude of the people. The study revealed that occurrence of diseases, provision of breeding grounds for mosquitoes, and emission of unpleasant odour are the major impacts of water pollution. In addition, people who live closer to the canal suffer from flash floods during rainy seasons and bad odour during dry spells. Despite 93% of the community having a good educational background, they continue to dispose and discharge solid and liquid wastes into the stream. Though there are a large number of government sector stakeholders directly or indirectly involved in water resources management of the area, the degree of interactions and collaborations among them vary widely. This study recommends that there should be a community based management system to minimize the pollution of water in Meda-Ela and thereby to minimize the socio economic impacts of water pollution in the catchment.

Key words: Meda Ela; Mahaweli River; Water Pollution; Social Impacts

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/tar.v22i4.3788

TAR 2011; 22(4): 374-383

How to Cite: Abeygunawardane, A., Dayawansa, N. & Pathmarajha, S., (2011). Socioeconomic Implications of Water Pollution in an Urban Environment A Case Study in Meda Ela Catchment, Kandy, Sri Lanka. Tropical Agricultural Research. 22(4), pp.374–383. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/tar.v22i4.3788
Published on 13 Nov 2011.
Peer Reviewed

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