Motorists using the stretch of GNT Road in Red Hills are often appalled by the thick smoke enveloping the area.

The smoke, emanating from burning garbage, hovers near a reservoir that supplies drinking water to city.

Every day, huge piles of garbage are dumped on the vacant land opposite the reservoir and subsequently burnt, making for not just an eyesore, but posing a health hazard. Panchayats bordering the area, including Naravarikuppam and Padianallur do not have dumping yards of their own, and so use this open space.

Dumping of garbage is also rampant near several parts of the lake bund that spans several kilometres, including in Surapet and near Tiruvallur Koot Road, Red Hills.

T. Ramamurthy, a local resident, said the road was used by many to reach various residential localities in Red Hills and is also a bus route. For several years now, he said, garbage was dumped on the land, just a few metres away from the bund of Red Hills reservoir.

Residents said it was difficult to drive along that stretch, due to the strong stench and the smoke billowing from the burning garbage.

In a bid to prevent dumping, the Water Resources Department (WRD) has written twice to the Naravarikuppam panchayat asking it to stop using government land as a makeshift dumpyard. However, dumping and burning of waste continues.

Officials of the WRD said that though this would not affect the water quality in the reservoir, the makeshift dumpyard poses a health hazard to residents and could intensify environment pollution.

if left neglected for long

The Naravarikuppam panchayat area has a population of over 50,000 and generates five tonnes of garbage daily. Admitting that the panchayat was using the land opposite the reservoir, panchayat president G. Rajendran said “We are forced to use that vacant space as there is no alternative site available. Several lorries also unload waste from other areas in that plot and burn it,” he said.

The panchayat has now sought a two-acre space to set up compost yard in Vadaperumbakkam or Alamathi.

“We have been asking for a dedicated dumpyard for four years now . We are unable to shift garbage from there owing to residents’ protest,” Mr. Rajendran said.

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