Madurai

Burning issue of Achampathu

Going unchecked: Due to a dysfunctional composting unit, garbage is dumped inside Kiruthumal river at Achampathu in Madurai and set on fire.

Going unchecked: Due to a dysfunctional composting unit, garbage is dumped inside Kiruthumal river at Achampathu in Madurai and set on fire.  

Garbage is dumped near and into Kiruthumal river and set on fire

On Sunday afternoon, smoke was billowing from burning garbage at a dump adjoining the cremation ground at Achampathu. A portion of the garbage was also dumped inside Kiruthumal river, which runs adjacent to it, along the Madurai-Theni highway.

The residents of Achampathu complain that the unscientifically dumped garbage is often set on fire and the smoke billows out from it, posing health hazards to them. An official from the Achampathu panchayat said that around three years back a huge pit with two divisions was formed near the cremation ground to segregate biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste. “However, it was not a workable model,” he said.

Hence, they built cement cubical tanks for composting biodegradable waste and producing manure. “But, around six months back, the thatch roof of the cubical tanks caught fire,” he said.

Since then, garbage has been dumped near and into Kiruthumal river and often set on fire, said K.K. Ambalavanan, a resident near the dump. “Everytime smoke comes out of the burning garbage, my 67-year-old mother, who is suffering from asthma, finds it difficult to breathe. We allow her to sit inside an air-conditioned room for some hours for her to recover,” he said.

It is common to see garbage set on fire at least twice a week, said N. Kasi Viswanathan, who runs a shop near the dump. “An acrid smell of burning plastic hangs in the air even after the fire is put out,” he said.

Mr. Ambalavanan said that ashes from the garbage spreads all over his house. “It is disheartening to see garbage being dumped inside Kirthumal river. Few decades back, clear water used to flow on this river. Now it has changed into a carrier of urban waste,” said Mr. Vishwanathan.

Achampathu panchayat president J. Muthulakshmi said that they are working on a proposal to build a separate micro-composting unit there. “The officials are planning to clear waste and desilt Kiruthumal river. Once it is completed, we will start building the micro-composting unit. This will sort out all the issues,” she said.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 10:34:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/burning-issue-of-achampathu/article31830747.ece

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