With garbage being dumped in water bodies despite appeals against it, there is now focus on the public supplementing the efforts of the civic bodies and voluntary organisations in preventing the abuse of tanks and canals.
The issue has come into sharper focus with the recent interception of a lorry carrying garbage and debris near the Kurichi Tank on the outskirts of the city.
The public surrounded the lorry just as the refuse consignment was about to be offloaded into a smaller water body that was across the road from the tank.
“We informed the police immediately. The dumping was prevented and the vehicle was seized,” Chairman of Kurichi Municipality N. Prabhakaran said on Tuesday.
The Kurichi Tank was also a mess, Managing Trustee of Siruthuli Vanitha Mohan said. Siruthuli, a public movement to conserve water resources, had strengthened the bund of the tank, thereby providing an additional 30 ft width to the Pollachi Road.
“But this additional stretch seemed to have been very inviting to those who wanted to dump garbage,” Ms. Mohan lamented.
“The entire space has been taken up by garbage,” she said.
Mr. Prabhakaran said the unauthorised dumping took place at night and that the debris came from the city.
“The garbage generated within the municipality is taken to the Coimbatore Corporation's yard at Vellalore. So, this cannot find its way to the tank,” he said.
“We have now asked the people to inform the municipality and the police immediately on spotting such dumping.
“We need the support of the people also to prevent the abuse of water bodies,” he said.
Ms. Mohan also called for greater vigil on the part of the general public.
“The efforts of the Corporation, other local bodies and voluntary organisations alone will not be enough to end this menace.
“People must question the wrong-doers and inform the authorities concerned,” she said.
In addition to this, Ms. Mohan also called for the installation of a helpline for the public to inform the police and other authorities concerned about illegal activities on water bodies.
“It is difficult to spot environmentally-concerned people close to the tanks because all those found there are living in slums that encroach upon the water bodies,” she pointed out.
“So, people in colonies a little away from the water bodies can also keep a watch on these,” she said.
Project Co-ordinator of Siruthuli K. Mylswamy said that while debris reduced the water holding capacity of the tanks, garbage would pollute ground water.