Tamil Nadu

Dumping of waste in quarry threatens wildlife at Mudumalai Tiger Reserve

Safety of animals inhabiting reserve, entire ecosystem at risk: conservationists

Dumping of plastic and chicken waste in an abandoned quarry in the heart of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) is posing a huge threat to the wildlife in the area, conservationists warn.

The quarry, now a series of small seasonal waterbodies, hosts a wide variety of wildlife, including the woolly-necked stork, several species of birds of prey and even a few freshwater turtles. Local residents said leopards and elephants visit the pools for water during summer months.

However, meat traders and residents have been using the quarry to dump huge quantities of waste generated in Masinagudi town.

Sindhu S, who lives near the quarry, said trucks carrying chicken waste enter the quarry every day and dump the waste there.

“The stench from the chicken waste is overwhelming at times, and there are hundreds of birds scavenging the waste,” said Ms. Sindhu, who added that people too come to discard waste at the site.

Conservationists say that the illegal dumping of waste in the quarry, located a few hundred metres from the town of Masinagudi, just off the road to Singara, puts the safety of animals inhabiting the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve at risk and has the potential to severely impact the entire ecosystem.

N. Mohanraj, a Nilgiris-based conservationist, suspects hazardous waste too is getting dumped in the quarry, potentially poisoning the water in the area.

“This could impact the birds which inhabit the quarry and feed on the waste, while elephants and carnivores could drink the water which could be contaminated. Wildlife could accidentally ingest plastic waste or other dumped materials at the site,” said Mr. Mohanraj, who called up on the Forest Department to act swiftly to clean up the area and put a stop to the dumping of waste at the quarry.

When contacted, Deputy Director of MTR (Buffer Zone), L.C.S.Srikanth, said he would look into the issue and take appropriate action against people and traders found to be dumping waste at the site.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 7:48:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/dumping-of-waste-in-quarry-threatens-wildlife-at-mudumalai-tiger-reserve/article30778137.ece

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