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Garbage burning sets off problems for Ambattur

K. Lakshmi
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Smoke emanating from the burning garbage at Athipet dumping yard. — Photo: K. Pichumani
Smoke emanating from the burning garbage at Athipet dumping yard. — Photo: K. Pichumani

Every summer, the problems of burning garbage in the Athipet dumping yard and erratic waste clearance revisit the residents of Ambattur. For the past few days, garbage heaped up on many streets of Ambattur is waiting to be cleared.

S. Nagarajan, a resident of Mogappair, said door-to-door collection is often disrupted in the wards maintained by the Ambattur Municipality and Neel Metal Fanalca, a private agency involved in clearing waste in 25 wards.

Besides door-to-door collection, street cleaning is still neglected in most wards. Garden waste is not cleared for nearly a month. The areas around the Athipet dumping yard are covered with smoke emanating from the garbage that burns throughout the day. Residents of Ayapakkam said the problem intensified during summer.

The garbage suddenly catches fire during summer owing to the emission of various gases from the waste heaped up for several years.

K.Vijayalakshmi, a resident of Mahatma Gandhi Nagar, Ambattur, said she has been living in the area behind the dump yard for over seven years. Burning of garbage owing to summer flare-ups is a regular feature. “My children often suffer from respiratory problem because of this. Traffic also gets affected as the vehicles wait on Vanagaram Road for unloading garbage. We have represented to the Ambattur municipality officials several times about the problem.”

Uma Kannan, councillor of ward 32, said many localities, including Ayapakkam, Kalaivanar Nagar, ICF Colony and up to parts of Mogappair, are affected because of the burning. School students also complain of the problem.

Residents alleged that the local body did not take measures to solve the problem as burning of garbage provides dumping space in the nearly 5.3 acre yard, which is full.

Responding to the residents' complaints, officials of the Ambattur Municipality said that they sought the help of Fire and Rescue Services personnel recently to put off the fire. Water from the two bore wells in the dumping yard and tankers is being used to douse the fire.

The local body generates nearly 250 tonnes of garbage daily. Collection of garden waste has been reduced as it would increase the burning of waste. Though garbage collection has resumed, there is a delay in lorries unloading waste.

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