Villagers allege dumping of medical waste

Villagers at Panayapuram in Tiruchi complain that hospitals were dumping waste in their village.

Villagers at Panayapuram in Tiruchi complain that hospitals were dumping waste in their village.   | Photo Credit: M. Moorthy

Residents of Panayapuram have alleged that some private hospitals in the city dump garbage in their village during night time. Villagers say that they have spotted men taking the garbage from loaded vans and throwing them into a pit along the main road.

Panayapuram, a village in Andhanallur block in Tiruchi lies between Cauvery and Kollidam rivers and has large agricultural lands.

“Along the Panayapuram main road, medical waste tied in green and blue plastic bags are being dumped since March”, said D. Muthukumaran, panchayat president.

Residents living near the main road had alerted the panchayat authorities after they noticed garbage being dumped at night. “Initially we thought the men were from private companies or apartments, but when we examined the waste, we found syringes, gloves and medicine wrappers,” said Mr. Muthukumaran.

Since those employed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme usually work in these parts, the panchayat president has suspended their work for 15 days. “It is no use complaining after someone tests positive. Prevention is better than cure,” he said.

While there were only two or three bags in March, they have now filled the pit with at least 40 bags. Claiming that it could be any of the private hospitals in the city, Mr. Muthukumaran said that a case must be filed. “How can a hospital, which should provide treatment and care for patients put others at risk?” he asked. With the spike in cases of COVID-19, the garbage could pose serious health risks, he added. “We do not know whether the gloves and syringes were used on COVID-19 patients or not. Either way, it is harmful as infections can spread easily,” he said.

The panchayat authorities alerted the Block Development Office and the local police who inspected the dumpsite and have promised to take it up with higher authorities, Mr. Muthukumaran said. “Even if one person in our village contracts any infection, I will blame this dump. We have been spraying disinfectants and regularly sanitising the village and we have not reported even one case of COVID-19,” he said.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 11:30:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/villagers-allege-dumping-of-medical-waste/article32260558.ece

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