Staff Reporter

Residents protest burning of garbage at dumping yard

CHENNAI: The issue of waste disposal in the Athipattu garbage dumping yard, which has almost exhausted available space, dominated the municipal council meeting held on Wednesday.

Councillors cutting across partylines charged that the garbage disposal work was irregular in the municipality, especially in wards where garbage clearance had been privatised.

Municipal chairman K. N. Sekar said that contracts given for the work would be cancelled.

Uma Kannan, councillor of ward No. 32, demanded that the agenda for construction of a compound wall around the dumping yard be withdrawn.

The agenda has raised fears among residents that the dumping yard will not be shifted, as assured by the municipal officials, she added.

Meanwhile, residents of areas around the Ayapakkam Road and members of the Penn Thozhilargal Sangam (Women Labourers Association) held an agitation before the municipal office in protest against burning of garbage dumped at the yard.

Sujata Mody, president of the Sangam, alleged that the daily burning of waste had affected the health of the people residing in areas such as K. K. Nagar and T. G. Anna Nagar around the dumping yard. At least one member in each of about 3,000 families residing in these areas was suffering from respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis and spent about Rs. 500 every month on treatment, she claimed. The residents of K. K. Nagar alleged that the constant burning of waste had claimed the life of an eight-month-old baby, which died of respiratory problem.

Members of the voluntary organisation demanded that source segregation be adopted at household-level and not just at the compost yard as planned by the municipality.

Charging that the municipality lacked a planned approach on the issue, Ms. Mody demanded that plan for solid waste management be chalked out and made available for public.

Vice-chairman K. Neelaantan said that there was no option but to dump garbage at Athipattu till the construction of compost yard was completed at Sekkadu.

A municipal official said that tenders were to be floated for construction of a compound wall and interior works at Sekkadu compost yard.

About Rs.3.5 crore was obtained as government grant.

Other issues that were discussed were proper survey of wards before taking up developing works and repairing of the damaged stretch on South Park Road near Ambattur OT.