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From air to water to land, everything polluted

Oct 29, 2012

Sruthisagar Yamunan and Yogesh Kabirdoss
The New Indian Express

A thick layer of smoke coupled with stench from a burning man-made hillock at Athipattu has made life miserable for the locals here. The hillock is at the dumping yard near Ambattur, where garbage from the western parts of the city has been piling up for over a decade. Everything there is polluted - air, land and water. Blame it on the dumping yard.

“Leeching from the garbage dump has percolated to the ground water aquifer and contaminated it,” rues, Venkatesan, who lives in the TNHB quarters, located hardly 150 metres away from the dumpyard. “I have been forced to spend a significant amount of my meager earnings in buying canned drinking water,” he adds.

Cut to Kodungiyur and the situation is identical. The trucks that move into the dumpyard leave a trail of waste on the roads near the housing board colony. "If you stand here for about an hour, you will see how medical waste gets strewn around. Children play here and none is bothered," claims Vijayalakshmi, a resident of Tondiarpet Road.

Whenever there is fire in the yard, pollutants make their presence felt on the clothes drying outside as well. "Clothes acquire the smoke’s odour. How does one wear them to office?" wonders Saravana Kumar, a BPO employee residing in the area.

According to people in Athipattu, repeated representations, petitions, pleas and demonstrations have failed to persuade the authorities to close down the yard. R Pasupathi, Chennai district committee member of CPI (ML), claims that the situation has worsened within the last 10 years. "At least one person in our locality loses his life to TB or asthma every year," he alleges.

Copyright © 2012 The New Indian Express. All rights reserved.

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