Drowning deaths are on the rise in the state. Hrithik, son of Koovathottu Pappachan, and Ashmin, daughter of Alappad Sabu, who were on their way to a relative’s house in Nadapuram to celebrate Easter, drowned in the Vilangadu river. After unnatural deaths, drowning deaths are the highest in Kerala after road accidents. There were 1,473 drowning deaths in 2019, 1,266 in 2020 and 1,013 by September 2021 in the state. An average of four drowning deaths per day. The rate of drowning deaths due to unnatural deaths in Kerala is around 15%. Most drowning deaths occur during the monsoon season when rivers overflow and floodplains form in low-lying areas.
Informal studies have shown that most child-related drowning deaths in the state occur during the holiday season. Parents often forget the basic lesson of not telling children who do not know how to swim to go near the pool except with adults. Keralites are generally in constant contact with waterlogged areas for daily necessities. 44 rivers, innumerable lakes, ponds, streams, swimming pools, 580 km of coastline. Outside are carelessly abandoned quarries and quarries. Death may be lurking here.
The phenomenon known as ‘starving water’ in rivers also plays a major role in drowning. This is a condition in which water flows without increasing in density. This condition occurs when water flows through rivers without mixing sand and soil. In such cases the force of the water flow is relatively high. It is estimated that this phenomenon is the reason for the recent drowning of two people in the Vilangadu river. Dangerous poses near ponds to share a picture on social media can also lead to death by falling into the water. Bathing with alcohol and drugs can also be dangerous. Alcoholics who are caught in a whirlpool or whirlpool are less likely than others to adopt the means of escape. Parents and the community need to be aware of the prevalence of alcoholism, even among teenagers.
Recommended ways to avoid drowning deaths include teaching children to swim without distinction of gender, creating community awareness about water safety, preventing children from diving into the water without adults, and extending a combo rope or cloth without jumping into the water to save those in danger. The government had decided to make swimming a part of the curriculum in the state in view of the rising number of drowning deaths. It was reported that the Department of Public Instruction and the State Council of Education had directed the Director of Research and Training in this regard. The Minister of Education has announced that world class swimming pools will be set up in all constituencies for the study of swimming. Last February, the Child Rights Commission asked the Secretary and Director of the Department of Public Instruction to implement the announced plan. The Child Rights Commission had also directed the Secretary to the Revenue Department to take steps to fill the useless public wells, construct walls for wells in public places and erect safety fences around ponds and quarries where water is stagnant. However, the project has not been implemented yet. Steps need to be taken for this at least in the next academic year.
At the same time, drowning deaths cannot be avoided just by knowing how to swim. Adequate precautions and caution are also required when going down deep rivers or lakes. The result of the swimmers’ deaths was that they learned to swim more than those who did not know how to swim. Most urban dwellers have learned to swim from swimming pools. But the situation with swimming pools, rivers and lakes is different. Swimming pools do not have unexpected pits, vortices or flow pressures. It is common in rivers and ponds. Therefore, in the spirit of training received from swimming pools, jumping into natural pools can be dangerous.