People living in localities around dump yard in Vellalore affected

Residents of localities around the Coimbatore Corporation’s dump yard in Vellalore and affected by the pollution were waiting for the Corporation to comply with the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board norms.

By delaying the steps to comply with the Board’s norms, the Corporation was running the Vellalore dump yard without the necessary clearance.

Or the residents would be forced to construe so, said K.S. Mohan of Kurichi Vellalore Pollution Prevention Action Committee.

He said that the Coimbatore Corporation in February-March 2012 wrote to the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board seeking extension of authorisation to continue using the Vellalore dump yard to dump and process waste.

Permission

It also sought permission to process additional waste — up to around 850 tonnes a day — citing expansion of limits. The civic body did so because the authorisation it had was set to expire on March 31, 2012.

In response to the application, the Board head office in Chennai wrote to the Coimbatore Corporation Commissioner to ask the civic body to initiate a few steps to mitigate the impact of dumping waste on water and air.

A Board official said that the Chennai office formulated the response based on inputs from the Coimbatore officials and also residents of the affected areas, who had complained of poor water and air quality, fly menace and frequent fire outbreaks at the dump yard that resulted in smoke spreading over the locality.

After waiting for a while, the Board reminded the Corporation with a letter to the Commissioner on July 30, asking the Corporation to install piezometers and other equipment around the sanitary landfill facility to monitor groundwater quality, construct compound to prevent unauthorised dumping of waste, especially medical waste, furnish a schedule for completing the scientific closure of old waste and furnish the result of compost analysed by any of the Ministry of Environment and Forest-approved laboratory. And, if the Corporation, had any alternative plan to treat and safely dispose of the municipal waste, it should also furnish the same.

The Board official said that it had to raise the queries with the Corporation because the residents of localities in the dump yard neighbourhood kept complaining about pollution, the Board engineers had visited the site to find appalling conditions and to prevent the Corporation have a deemed authorisation.

But the Corporation was to yet to respond to the Board’s letter.

Mr. Mohan said that the Corporation’s silence on the matter was more than worrying because the residents were compromising their health by living in unhygienic condition.

Petitions

He said that any number of petitions, representations, complaints, protests and even fasts had not produced the necessary result from the civic body, which had clearly failed to implement the solid waste management programme as it envisioned.

To underscore his point, Mr. Mohan pointed to the Corporation Commissioner slapping fine on the contractor implementing the programme for not complying with the tender conditions.

He added that the Corporation should initiate remedial measures, as sought by the Board, to put an end to the pollution problem.

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