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Tamil Nadu: River reality: Health a concern for Ennore fishermen January 06,2020   |  Source: The New Indian Express

Standing chest-deep in the polluted Kosasthalaiyar River near Ennore, S Kumaresan (43), plucks out a handful of blood-red Polychaete worms and puts them in a mud bowl placed on a wooden plank which floats on the river. He coughs, scratches his itching skin and rubs his eyes, but all that does not stop him from going inside the water again to catch the worms, colloquially called ‘Poochi’, a bristle-bearing segmented worm present in the sludge at the bottom of a water body.

After staying inside the water briefly for a minute, he comes up to take a breather, to go back inside water again. “It takes 20-30 minutes to dig the sludge to remove the worms,’’ says Kumaresan. As he finally comes out, about 10 worms are in his hand but his whole body is sullied by reeking sewage and effluent which has engulfed the river, ever since industries started coming up in Ennore decades ago. Due to excessive water pollution, most fish in the river has disappeared, and the remaining fish too are highly filled with chemical content. This also pushed many fishermen to catch these worms, which they later export as prawn feed to Odisha and Andhra.This type of fishing has come with myriad health issues, mainly skin related problems like rashes, lesions typically psoriasis and hives. ‘‘To

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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)