Ratnamma and her three daughters are constantly worried these days. After Muniraju, Ratnamma’s husband, died of renal failure last week, the family is left with a loan of over Rs. 10 lakh that had been spent on his medical treatment.
Ratnamma and her daughters, Manjula and Chaya, work as agricultural labourers in Mavallipura, where the garbage from the city is dumped in the landfill managed by Ramky Enviro Engineers Ltd. Her eldest daughter Lavanya is married.
Instances of people dying of serious diseases have become common in the 13 villages near the dumping yard. The villagers attribute this to the unchecked contamination of groundwater by leachate seepage and pollution caused by the ineffective handling of solid waste by Ramky. However, BBMP officials said that the link between the garbage and the serious diseases is yet to be established.
That is not all. Agriculture and agri-related activities have been hit in these villages. Production has come down and farmers are forced to use more pesticides, said M. Ramesh, member of the gram panchayat.
Ashok M.R. owns one acre and 12 guntas of land abutting the landfill. He has stopped working in the fields and left his land barren after his father Rajanna died of cancer. “We used to cultivate vegetables, which were sold in Bangalore. However, leachate contamination affected our crops and my father developed cancer due to exposure to the toxins. Most lands near the landfill are left uncultivated,” he said.
Siddaiah, former Commissioner of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, had directed the civic officials to form an inter-disciplinary team comprising nephrologists, gynaecologists, physicians and skin specialists and conduct medical camps. Mr. Ramesh said that only two camps were held after the directive.