Action taken following complaints of increased mosquito menace from residents living near rivers

In an attempt at battling the menace caused by mosquitoes, the Water Resources Department (WRD) has started daily dredging of the mouths of the Cooum and Adyar rivers.

For the past few days, residents of Adyar and Besant Nagar have complained about the rise in mosquito problems in their areas. Similar complaints were raised by people living close to the Cooum in areas such as Triplicane and Chetpet.

In response to the complaints, two machines have been engaged to remove sand blocking the Adyar river mouth. Normally, the department cleans the mouths of both the Cooum and Adyar river at frequent intervals. But now, sand is being removed every day in light of the complaints, officials of WRD said.

An official said the Adyar river mouth would be opened up to a width of 100 metres to facilitate entry of sea water into the river. So far, the river mouth has been dredged and cleared to a width of 60 metres. “If left uncleared for two days, sand would get deposited for a depth of two metres at the river mouth,” he said. The impact of the dredging will be felt for a distance of two km up to Thiru.Vi.Ka. bridge.

Both Cooum and Adyar rivers do not have much flow owing to lack of rainfall last year. Regular dredging at the river mouths would help better tidal wave action and drain river water into the sea, the official added.

At the Cooum, dredging has helped open up the mouth to a width of 80 metres. “We are planning to keep it open up to 180 metres. Each wave deposits up to half an inch of sand at the river mouth,” said an official. The operation would ensure that tidal wave action has an impact up to three km of the river.

Unlike the previous years, when the sand extracted was conveyed to be used for various projects, the sand cleared from the mouths is being levelled close by. “We are unable to keep track and ensure the sand is being transported to the project sites. Environmental clearances are also needed,” an official said.

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