The recent incident of a bird hit on a flight while take off from the Tiruchi International Airport has brought to fore yet again the problems posed by poor sanitary conditions, especially the unchecked dumping of chicken and other meat waste, around the airport.

On September 19 evening, the airport was put on emergency mode after an Air Asia flight bound for Kuala Lumpur from here suffered a bird hit during the take-off. With the bird hitting the right engine of the aircraft, the pilot was unwilling to take any chances and decided to return to the airport after hovering over the city for nearly an hour to exhaust fuel as a routine emergency protocol.

This is not the first time that an aircraft has suffered a bird hit at the airport; there have been several such instances down the years. Bird hits pose a threat to flight safety and result wastage of resource and time, airport sources said.

Over the years, officials of the airport have periodically expressed concern over the dumping by roadside meat stalls and eateries along the Pudukottai Highway and the Wireless Road that leads to K.K. Nagar from the airport and drew the attention of the civic authorities to the dumping of wastes from these stalls around the airport.

The huge open space in front of the airport leading up to Ali Khan Kulam and other dry beds of tanks in the area had turned ideal dumping places for the traders to dump their waste. Flocks of birds throng the surroundings to feast on the meat and other wastes. Some of these birds stray into the flight paths.

The corporation, already faced with severe shortage of sanitary workers, had been struggling to cover big though sparsely populated wards. “It can be difficult to monitor and clear the wastes dumped on the sly on the tank beds and other open spaces. It is essential that traders in the area are sensitised to the importance of safe disposal of meat and other wastes,” said R. Gopal, a resident of the area.

In recent years, a large number of encroachers had come to put up huts right next to the airport compound wall along the Pudukottai Road.

The slums have been grown bigger and many of the residents just thrown their garbage across the compound wall, unmindful of the problems it pose. Sewage from the households could also be seen seeping across the compound wall.

Airport officials said an environment survey had been taken up around the airport following the recent instance of a bird hit on the Air Asia flight and the report was awaited. Based on the report appropriate follow up action will be taken, they said.