Upper reaches of Adyar river continue to remain easy target for dumping waste

WRD writes to local bodies along the river to clear heaps of garbage dumped along the banks

January 31, 2023 09:54 pm | Updated February 02, 2023 11:51 am IST - CHENNAI

 Local bodies dump garbage near the river at Gerugambakkam which causes health hazards to people.

Local bodies dump garbage near the river at Gerugambakkam which causes health hazards to people. | Photo Credit: VELANKANNI RAJ B

Adyar river has witnessed many conservation efforts over the past years. But it continues to suffer misuse. In a bid to stave off degradation of the river, the Water Resources Department has written to local bodies asking them to stop dumping of garbage along upper reaches of the river.

The portion of the river near areas like Gerugambakkam, Kolapakkam and Gowl Bazaar is filled with garbage. Activists and residents complained that local bodies too dump waste along the river bund.

Watch | Upper reaches of Adyar river continue to remain easy target for dumping waste
| Video Credit: B. Velankanni Raj

The WRD has also asked the Gerugambakkam panchayat to clear the heaps of garbage near the river dumped by their vehicles and take action to prevent pollution of the river.

Residents complained that they were unable to negotiate roads near the waterway as mounds of garbage ate into half of the road space.

A.Valarmathi, a resident of Kolapakkam, said: “I use the Pallavaram road abutting the river daily. I’ve seen lorries unloading garbage along river bed. School kids riding bicycles on the road also face health hazard as waste is often burnt. This is the connecting road to Gowl Bazaar. We have to otherwise travel additional 20 minutes through Mount Poonamallee Road to reach Kolapakkam Main Road.”

Activists have also been raising the issue of the river being used as a makeshift dump yard for biomedical waste and garbage from the neighbouring areas for many years now. V. Pugalventhan, a social activist based in Kundrathur, said he found garbage dumped along the river during a recent visit to Ramapuram.

“Many of the local bodies don’t have infrastructure or own manpower for garbage collection and disposal. Waste is not source segregated. Vacant lands, waterbodies and rivers often are easy targets for such misuse in rapidly urbanising areas,” he said.

Though several representations were made on the issue, action is yet to be initiated. There is an urgent need for allocating land and manpower to manage solid waste generated in suburbs. Efforts must be taken to fence the river boundary, activists added.

Officials of the WRD said improvement works worth ₹94 crore were carried out in the 25-km portion of the river. This included widening and removing 10 lakh cubic metre of silt from the riverbed. Local bodies had the task of building flood protection walls. However, efforts to clean the river did not yield desired results as garbage dumped in the upper portion polluted the river.

They recalled that the National Green Tribunal, Southern Bench, had directed the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to collect environmental compensation for dumping biomedical waste near Red Hills reservoir a few years ago. Such measures may help resolve the issue, officials added.

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