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Protests, pleas fail to stir babus into action

Oct 29, 2012

Sruthisagar Yamunan and Yogesh Kabirdoss
The New Indian Express

Apathy is perhaps a term that the residents near the dumpyard in Kodungiyur are well accustomed to. Despite sustained protests for years and numerous court battles, people here claim there is little qualitative improvement in their lives as officials pass the buck when it comes to taking responsibility.

Environmentalists point out that whenever the issue of garbage burning in Perungudi and Kodungiyur is raked up, the Chennai Corporation and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board trade charges but end up doing very little.

Despite standing orders from the Madras High Court that garbage burning had to be stopped at all costs, the practice continues unabated.

Shwetha Narayan, a city-based environmentalist, said the TNPCB, which was supposed to be at the forefront to curb pollution, seems to be invisible in the matter. "The board has the duty to ensure pollution norms are followed. But around dumpyards, this seem to be not happening at all," said environmentalists.

While surveillance was improved in the yards following a major fire at Perungudi earlier this year, there is no information on whether anybody had been booked for starting the fires, with suspicion of insider job by contractors mounting with each major blaze.

"We have installed cameras at the yards. But much of the fire happen on its own given the chemical reactions from the waste," said a officer of the corporation.

A senior official from the TNPCB said: "We do take air sample consistently and provide inputs." The government has already proposed setting up five air monitoring stations before March next year. "One of the monitoring centres will come near this dumpyard. So we will soon have concrete data on these issues," he said.

Does the corporation need another HC push to get its act together?

Copyright 2012 The New Indian Express. All rights reserved.

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