Avikkal Thodu is once again a huge dump of waste.
A year after the Kozhikode Corporation conducted a massive cleaning drive in the canal, its mouth is clogged with empty water bottles and plastic carry bags among others. The canal passes through five wards, but it is those living near its mouth, on the border of Vellayil and Thoppayil wards, who have to bear the brunt.
“One finds heaps of water bottles in the canal. We are fishermen with poor income. We cannot afford to have packaged drinking water or soft drinks, the bottles of which are found dumped in the waterbody,” said Dawood T., chairman of the anti-sewage treatment plant protest committee at Avikkal Thodu.
The accumulation of waste has resulted in vegetation sprouting on it, practically covering a portion of the canal. Moreover, the water has turned black and is now a habitat of mosquitoes and rodents.
The protest by local residents against the Corporation’s proposed sewage treatment plant (STP) at the mouth of the canal had reached a flashpoint, with people accusing the civic body of resorting to a vengeful act. The locals also charged the Corporation with neglect when it came to hygiene and sanitation.
“The Vellayil health circle is the largest in the Corporation. Sadly, we do not even have a health inspector. The one in charge rarely pays a visit,” said Soufiya Anish, councillor representing Vellayil ward.
“The Corporation has been giving us step-motherly treatment. It does not even clean up roads here or take up fogging during monsoon to ward off mosquitos,” said Mr. Dawood.
Health standing committee chairperson S. Jayasree said the civic body could not invest much every year on the canal. She said the sewage pipes of several houses in the locality were directed into the canal, resulting in the water turning black. She asked residents to locate the source of plastic waste and promised to act against violators.
However, the residents are seeking a permanent solution to the problem. “The Corporation could cover branches of the canal using concrete slabs. It will prevent dumping of plastic waste into it to a great extent,” said Ms. Anish.