Chennai

Floating garbage poses a challenge

Tough task: The Water Resources Department is finding it difficult to clear the garbage from some waterways, as they are surrounded by habitations.

Tough task: The Water Resources Department is finding it difficult to clear the garbage from some waterways, as they are surrounded by habitations.   | Photo Credit: M. Vedhan

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Clearing of garbage in waterways has come up as a major challenge during desilting exercises this monsoon. The Water Resources Department has often struggled to keep waterways like the Virugambakkam-Arumbakkam canal free of floating garbage.

The Department has so far desilted nearly 121 km of different waterways in and around the city. As part of its ₹10-crore monsoon preparedness work, the Department had taken up desilting works in 51 waterways, running to a distance of 134 km, till the year end.

The WRD is finding it difficult to clear the garbage from some waterways, as they are surrounded by habitations, and machinery is stationed throughout the day to clean the stretch.

35 machines deployed

“We have deployed 35 machines and 9 more float-mounted machinery for the work. The mouths of the Adyar river, the Cooum river and the Buckingham canal near Ennore creek and Muttukadu are also being desilted,” said an official. In a bid to mitigate flooding, a retaining wall has been built along the stretch of the Adyar river near Jaffarkhanpet, after demolishing the causeway.

Following Coastal Zone Regulation clearance for the Adyar river eco-restoration project, the Department has started desilting the portion of the river between the Thiru Vi Ka Bridge and Saidapet. Water is being diverted into a canal formed in the middle of the river to facilitate desilting.

In Pazhaverkadu, desilting of the mouth would only be done when the Araniar river has heavy flow, added officials.

Residents said clearing of silt from waterways must have been done much earlier, from August. C.R. Balaji, a resident of Mandaveli, said work in some waterbodies, such as the Velachery lake, was taken up after a delay. There must be better coordination between government agencies to stop sewage discharge into waterways such as the Cooum river near Thiruverkadu. Like other government agencies, WRD should have a mechanism for residents to register complaints either online or through a helpline.

On the stretch of the Cooum river upstream of Maduravoyal remaining clogged with water hyacinth, officials said steps would be taken to clean the portion along with the Greater Chennai Corporation.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 5:08:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/floating-garbage-poses-a-challenge/article30001976.ece

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