Residents of Perungudi, Madhavaram and Tiruvottiyur have voiced concern over the use of dumpyards in their localities to dispose of solid waste from many of the new areas of Chennai Corporation too.
In Perungudi, residents say that the Corporation must stop dumping mixed garbage and instead start source segregation on a large-scale. K. Periyasamy, president, Sri Sai Nagar Residents Association, said: “It is time they prepared a road map for segregation. Though residents in the newly-merged areas are happy to see their garbage being removed, they do not realise that it is being dumped elsewhere but near residential localities. The Corporation is only waiting for an epidemic to break out.”
Many areas that have been merged with the Corporation, including Perungudi, Thoraipakkam and Neelankarai, that did not have dump yards, have been permitted to use the Perungudi dump yard by the Corporation. Though these localities had sought permission to dump garbage near the Kalaignar Karunanidhi Salai, which links East Coast Road and Rajiv Gandhi Salai, they were asked to dump in Perungudi until a permanent solution was found.
Residents of Kilburn Nagar in Madhavaram, which receives around 75 tonnes of garbage daily, said they have been fighting to get the dumpyard shifted out of their area for over seven years as burning of garbage posed a health hazard.
The stench emanating from the site was unbearable and residents of houses that share the compound with the dumpyard were severely affected, residents complained. “We cannot open our windows for fear of houseflies and mosquitoes. Sewage from the neighbouring areas that lack underground drainage network is also let out into the site. Nearly 50-60 trucks bring garbage loads to the site daily,” said J.Ravi, a resident.
Composting was being done at the site two decades ago in a small way. The problems began 15 years ago when the garbage was burnt to create space for more waste.
M. Shanmugam, secretary of Kilburn Nagar Residents Welfare Association, said: “The government had promised that the dumping yard will be shifted before the local body elections. But, more trucks are bringing loads of garbage, including medical waste, to the site daily,” he said.
The Association also plans to approach the court to shift the dumping site.
The Tiruvottiyur Municipality had, in the past, rejected a proposal to dump garbage from Manali, Madhavaram and Kathivakkam in its yard. “However, as things are now, the Corporation plans to do just that. The yard is already getting around 110 tonnes every day and if garbage from these areas are also added it would get 100 tonnes more. Mere dumping cannot be the solution. Why should garbage from other areas be brought into our land,” asked M.Subramaniam, a resident of Tiruvottiyur.
Official sources in the civic body said conservancy operations in more than 50 per cent of the city would be entrusted to a new contractor soon.
“Our surplus staff would be deployed in the merged areas. We will chart out a plan for dumping solid waste and encourage source segregation. Plastic collection centres would also be set up as a step towards that,” the official said.