Indiscriminate dumping of garbage takes the sheen off city's gateway

Eyesore:Garbage dumped near the Coleroon river near Srirangam.— PHOTO:M.SRINATH

Eyesore:Garbage dumped near the Coleroon river near Srirangam.— PHOTO:M.SRINATH  

The tollgate junction near the Coleroon river, the gateway to the city from the northern side, is fast turning into an eyesore owing to indiscriminate dumping of garbage by commercial establishments on the roadsides.

With the banks of the Ayyan Vaical and the adjacent Coleroon river also being used as unofficial garbage dump yards, the two water courses have come under heavy pollution.

The civic body, the Bikshandar Kovil panchayat under whose jurisdiction the No.1 Tollgate area falls , has been a silent spectator to the wilful action of traders over the past several years, local residents allege.

Exasperated residents of R.V.Nagar and Mathurapuri, who bear the brunt of the pollution, point accusing fingers at the slew of commercial establishments at the tollgate junction as being the main culprits.

The vacant road space, which is used as a parking lot by goods vehicles and vans, and banks of the Ayyan Vaical have become convenient places for the hotels, bars, marriage halls, and other commercial establishments to dump their garbage every day, they allege.

“We have been fighting the traders for years now, but they hardly take note. They dump the garbage in handcarts early in the morning even before we arrive at the spot,” says Ramesh, a van driver. He points out that even empty and broken liquor bottles are dumped at the site, posing a threat to drivers hanging around at the spot and pedestrians as well.

“We have grown tired of representing the matter to the civic body. But the traders continue the practice and the civic body has been unable to check them. The situation has remained the same for the past 10 years,” says Dhanakodi, a senior citizen of Mathurapuri.

The civic body cleans up the spot occasionally and the area was cleared about a month ago using earthmovers. But it is unable to stop the traders from dumping their wastes, says Rajendran, a driver of a goods vehicle. Locals also point out even if the civic body cleans up the area the solid wastes are only shifted a few yards away to the banks of the Ayyan Vaical or the Coleroon river. “When water flows in the Ayyan Vaical, the garbage is often dumped into the canal, polluting the water,” another resident says.

Under the present windy conditions, dried up garbage, especially plastic wastes, could be found strewn all around the tollgate junction. “We have made repeated representations to the panchayat, but the problem has not been resolved. At least the ban on plastics should be strictly enforced in these parts,” says Chidambaram, a resident of R.V.Nagar.

Local residents allege that the civic body has failed to put up any garbage bins at the junction or made arrangements to collect the solid wastes from the commercial establishments on a day-to-day basis.

Many hope that the construction of new bridges across the Coleroon river and the Ayyan Vaical, sanctioned recently, could lead to the widening of the road and bring about an improvement in the situation. But this could take at least a couple of years, they say and expect the civic body to step in quickly to put an end to their woes.

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