From his 21st floor-apartment in Chittethukara not so far away from the Brahmapuram plant where tonnes of plastic garbage heaps continue to smoulder for the last one week, Dinesh Neelankandan, a script writer, could see a thick film of smoke suspended midair in the early morning hours of Wednesday.
The sight was enough for him to decide against sending his two children to school for the day though the district administration hasn’t declared a holiday. The decision proved right as the school dismissed the classes midway through later in the day as the environment wasn’t fit enough to keep children in classrooms.
“At least three families in our apartment left for their native places on Wednesday as they found the situation suffocating. The smoke and smell of burnt plastic in the air is so pungent for us to ignore,” said Mr. Neelakandan.
Many places in the city experienced fresh bouts of smoke and suffocating smell of plastic on Tuesday late night and early morning hours of Wednesday much to the chagrin of the public.
Liyons Jos, a resident of Anchumana near Palarivattom, moaned how the smoke and smell infiltrated into their home and left his four-year-old daughter literally sick. “She was already on medication for cough and it just worsened her condition and left her vomiting profusely. The situation wasn’t any different around 3 a.m. till which time we stayed up tending to our daughter,” he said.
The area near Palarivattom flyover was literally a no visibility-zone thanks to the smoke with similar complaints being reported from various places including Tripunithura, Vennala, Kakkanad, and Edappally.
“Tuesday late night was the worst we have experienced since the fire breakout. After going to bed, we had to get up to bolt the windows tight after leaving them open for fresh air,” said P. Govind, an accounting professional at an apartment in Vennala.
Shyam Alokan, a resident of Tripunithura, was worried about his four-and-a-half-year-old boy as holiday wasn’t declared for the school before he eventually chose against sending him to school. “We are all going to pay the price for this tragedy in the years to come,” he rued.
Sriram J. K. an IT professional from Edappally, was dismissive about the blame game by the present and former mayors in a television news channel over the Brahmapuram plant fiasco. “People should unite and litigate against the Corporation for compensation. These are the things we should fight for together,” he said.
Subhash Balan, a resident of an apartment complex in Edachira, alleged the blame game to be an eyewash since both the UDF and LDF was benefitting from the corruption behind the plant. “Think about our pathetic situation where we cannot even switch on the fresh air fan in our washroom since it has an opposite effect. The apartment association has forbidden our children from playing outdoors and suspended the operations of the library,” he said.
Sonia Murukesan, president of Vadavucode-Puthencruz panchayat said that a round-the-clock health centre has been set up at the primary health centre to tend to people turning up with issues caused by the smoke.