Madurai

Those living alongside Vaigai must be its custodians, say environmentalists

Stakeholders discussing long-term plans on restoration of the Vaigai in Madurai.

Stakeholders discussing long-term plans on restoration of the Vaigai in Madurai.   | Photo Credit: G. Moorthy

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‘Streets along it require at least 100 dustbins to prevent littering on the bund’

Environmentalists, residents and social activists emphasised the need for active citizen participation in the restoration of the Vaigai.

Speaking at DHAN Foundation’s sixth ‘Restore Vaigai’ stakeholder meeting recently, the activists said the river was at its worst inside the temple city.

A. Gurunathan, director, DHAN Academy, said some of the key issues plaguing the restoration efforts included removal of encroachments, sand mining, open defecation, dumping of waste and release of untreated sewage into the river.

According to research published by the organisation, Mr. Gurunathan said, the streets along the Vaigai would require at least 100 dustbins to prevent littering along the bund.

Although toilets were built alongside the river, they hardly found users because of the condition.

“Those living alongside the river must be its custodians. Though the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has been actively pronouncing judgements to clear encroachments along the Vaigai, the Corporation and district administration must ensure that the clearing takes place and shelters do not come up in the same area again,” he said.

Despite several fallacies, M.P. Vasimalai, executive director of DHAN Foundation, said citizens formed zonal councils to clean and take responsibility of their designated areas. Dialogue was necessary between all stakeholders to make the difference.

Solutions, including construction of check dams, planting trees and proposing effective solid waste management, needed to be in place to ensure that the river is restored.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2019 8:13:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/those-living-alongside-vaigai-must-be-its-custodians-say-environmentalists/article25409847.ece

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