Residents of houses on both sides of the 80 Feet Road in Anna Nagar, abutting the wall separating the Aavin milk project, do not keep their doors, windows and vessels containing water and food items open. Whenever these are inadvertently kept open, a layer of seeds from the vegetation on the milk project side gets settled.

The residents, especially in Bharatiar Apartments, constructed by the Tamil Nadu Housing Board, have to put up with the foul odour emanating from stagnant water; keep the floating seeds at bay and also spar with mosquito menace. The vast open area of the milk project is flooded with waste water and stagnant rain water. Typha plants, belonging to the family Typhaceae, dominate this landscape. “By nature, these plants do not allow others to grow. They thrive only in stagnant water. Whenever their flowers mature the seeds, which carry hairs at the top, keep floating in the direction of the wind,” explains D. Kathiresan of the Department of Botany, Saraswathi Narayanan College.

The seeds travel in the air in swarms and get settled on the floor, furniture and gadgets. When they stick to food items, it is very difficult to remove them, says a housewife. They are found floating in every house and at times inhaled.

M. Rajarajan, president of Bharatiar Apartments Owners’ Welfare Association, feels that the situation was worse till a compound wall was constructed on the initiative of former Collector T. Udayachandran. The wall has prevented the misuse of the open space and proliferation of pigs. But waste water stagnation continues and foul smell emanates from the open space, which has turned into a fertile ground for mosquito breeding.

The stagnant water passes through an outlet in the compound wall into the residential area before entering into a canal across the 80 Feet Road.

In the absence of the compound wall, residents themselves hired workers to cut the vegetation. But now they are not in a position to trespass into government property, says S. Balamurugan, secretary of the association.

The association, he says, has been repeatedly appealing to officials to prevent air and water pollution and control mosquito menace by putting the open space to use.