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Chitlapakkam chokes on its burning garbage

Chitlapakkam chokes on its burning garbage

D Madhavan | TNN- The Times of India Chennai, August 4, 2011

Chennai: A blanket of smoke has covered Chitlapakkam, a southern suburb 20 km from the city, causing major breathing problems to residents. Children and elders are the worst affected as the smoke continues to spread because garbage is set on fire at a dump yard on Chitlapakkam Main Road. 

The dump yard has been in existence for more than a century, but large-scale burning of garbage is a recent practice that has left the residents seething. 

The smoke and flying debris also cause problems to motorists, especially twowheeler riders who use the stretch to reach the Grand Southern Trunk (GST) Road. 

“Thick smoke emanating from the yard has reduced visibility on the road resulting in accidents. Though we erected a few barricades near the station to restrict the speed of vehicles, there have been a few mishaps,” said a policeman. 

The city generates 8 tonnes of waste everyday. Sanitary workers of the local body dump 3 tonnes of waste generated by the town at the half-acre yard and set fire to it. The remaining 5 tonnes is collected from 10,030 households in the 18 wards of the local body by Green Friends of Hand-In-Hand (HIH). It is segregated in a scientific method in a biocompost shed. HIH is a Kancheepuram-based NGO that specialises in solid waste management in the state. 

As the smoke engulfs the neighbourhood, it is an ordeal for the pregnant women and children who visit the sub-health centre near the yard. “Burning and dumping of garbage adjacent to a government hospital is always a health hazard for patients. When we complain, the officials ask us to learn to put up with it,” said K Sundar, a resident of Chitlapakkam. 

A central warehouse is located opposite the dump yard. Any accidental fire from the dump yard to the warehouse could spell a disaster. 

Officials of the town panchayat denied any large-scale burning of garbage. “Some miscreants set fire to the garbage at night to extract copper from burnt-out electric wires. We have posted a staff to prevent such incidents,” said an official of the town panchayat.

RAISING A STINK: The open space near a lake in Chitlapakkam has been converted into a dump yard

 

 

 

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