Deepa H Ramakrishnan and K.Lakshmi
“Municipalities such as Poonamallee, Karambakkam, Mogaliwakkam dumping garbage”
CHENNAI: Indiscriminate dumping and burning of garbage along several stretches of highways in and around Poonamallee by various municipalities is posing problems to residents and particularly, motorists.
Local residents and officials of the Highways Department complained that the municipalities of Poonamallee, Karambakkam, Mogaliwakkam, Porur, Ramapuram and Kattupakkam were dumping the garbage.
An official of the department said that despite several letters to the municipalities, the menace continued on several stretches, including the Mount-Poonamallee Road that connects Kathipara and Poonamallee. On some stretches the contractors of municipalities cleared the garbage from the roadside in the daytime only to dump it at the same spot during the night, the official said. “When VIPs pass through the road, we employ labourers and clean the roadsides,” he added.
A small-scale entrepreneur said garbage dumped around the Poonamallee Lake had polluted the waterbody. “It used to be a drinking water source and the water used to pristine. But now there is a stench emanating from the place and groundwater has been polluted,” he complained.
S.Purushothaman, vice-president of Varadarajapuram Panchayat, said that several other municipalities dumped garbage within the Varadarajapuram limit.
“There is a government school in the area and its students are put to untold suffering due to constant fires in the dump. We have been petitioning all officials concerned but no action has been taken,” Mr. Purushothaman added.
J.G.Pandian, a private security guard on Poonamallee Bypass, said that motorists were severely affected due to the smoke and stench. “Many small eateries dump chicken waste alongside the road that adds to the stench. There are many rag pickers who remove the recyclable items from the garbage. There are a few children among those as well,” he added.
An official of the Poonamallee Municipality said that tenders had been called for solid waste collection and source segregation by private agencies in 15 wards of the municipality. Once the tender is finalised and work commences the amount of garbage being dumped in other areas would be reduced, the official added.
An official at the Commissionerate of Municipal Administration said a few sites had been identified near the city to create composting yard facility for several municipalities. These facilities are in the process of being developed.
On the charge of local bodies dumping garbage on water courses and roads maintained by the Highways Department, the official said problems pertaining to waste disposal and lack of dumping space would be resolved once the earmarked sites are developed into composting yards.
Source segregation of waste at household level could be implemented effectively only if there was sufficient space to compost the garbage. Solid waste management is being done in a phased manner and would be extended to other local bodies as well, he added.