Around 300 families living in residential areas close to the sewage treatment plant near Kanakan lake have been knocking on every possible door to find a solution to the foul smell and high decibel noise emanating from the facility.
Since the setting up of the plant, residents have been giving representations to the Public Works Department, Pondicherry Pollution Control Committee and Oulgaret Municipality to address the issue of stench and noise pollution from the plant.
The stench and heavy sound produced by the machineries at the plant are giving sleepless nights to the residents of Moogambigai Nagar, Sathyasai Nagar, Puthu Nagar, Thuya Thambi Garden, Vel Nagar and Jaya Nagar.
People under the banner of Sir Moogambigai Nagar Residents Welfare Association have given a number of written complaints to authorities at PWD, municipality and PPCC seeking rectification measures at the plant.
The STP was built without acoustic proofing system and proper mechanism to treat collected sewage, said a resident of Puthu Nagar.
“We have raised objection to setting up the plant near a residential area and on the banks of a lake.. Now, all our concerns have proved to be true. The plant operates during the night with loud noise and in the middle of the night the workers will let out untreated water into a nearby irrigation channel and into the lake. Children are not able to study, and elderly people have lost their sleep,” said a resident.
The PPCC has failed to conduct regular inspection to check the level of pollutants, the resident said and pointed out that even four days ago untreated sewage water was flowing into the irrigation canal.
“The strangest case of locating an STP within the waterbody can be found only in Puducherry. How can such a thing be done so as to bring in sewerage water into a freshwater lake”, an environment activist wanted to know.
“The smell is so bad that people are facing breathing difficulties and nausea,” said Sridhar , a resident of Moogambika Nagar.
The issue was recently raised in the Assembly by Independent legislator M. Sivasankar, representing Ozhukarai constituency. The legislator said people have been giving representations to all the departments concerned from 2018.
The authorities have failed completely to conduct periodic inspection to ascertain whether the plant was functioning as per rules and regulations, he said.
“People of the constituency are now preparing to approach the National Green Tribunal seeking justice. As a representative of the people, I will also join the residents in filing a complaint with the NGT. It is complete official apathy which has led to such a situation. The Ministers or senior officials should seek answers from the departments concerned on the subject,” he added.