Over the past few weeks, tonnes of earth and plastic bottles, cups and bags have been removed from four of the city’s arterial roads.
Every day, nearly 18 tonnes of mud and garbage are cleared and carted off by workers from Anna Salai, Jawaharlal Nehru Salai, Poonamallee High Road and Grand Northern Trunk Road.
According to sources in the highways department, the road surface, pavements, water tables and medians are being cleaned.
“We are also increasing the frequency of the clean-up. Earlier, each stretch was cleaned once in 15 days. Now we do it twice every week,” an official said.
The cleaning of the arterial stretches is being taken up before the monsoon so that waterlogging is prevented. “When the water tables are cleaned properly, water flow is not disrupted,” said the official.
Groups of 6-8 persons cover 300 metres of roads every day. Using brushes and crowbars, they remove dust and dirt from the stretches.
The increase in frequency of cleaning has been necessitated due to an increase in construction activity on the roads. “Silt from stormwater drains, earth transported from Metro Rail work sites and sand transported in lorries fall on the stretch and get accumulated,” said another official.
K. Karunakaran, a resident of Poonamallee, who commutes to Nungambakkam daily, says he ties a handkerchief over his mouth and nostrils to avoid inhaling the dust.
“When there are strong gusts of wind, the dust is carried far and wide and two-wheeler riders and pedestrians find it very difficult to navigate the stretch. The Corporation had said it would wash roads and pavements using soap and water. The same must be done on these roads too,” he said.