CHENNAI: The catchment area of Porur lake has become a dumping ground for residents living in the towns along the Chennai bypass road. The litter trail which consists of both domestic and commercial waste such as skins, fur of goats, begins at Kovur, which is five km away, along the bypass, towards Tambaram.
“People have been dumping waste here for the last 10 years because no one questions them,” said Murugan, who was sifting through the waste in Kovur..
“Even the local panchayat dumps some waste here. So people are just following their example,” he alleged, picking up plastic waste which he could recycle and make a quick buck from.
However, other residents in the town are quick to point a finger at highway motorists and claim they are responsible for the pile-up of decomposing domestic trash which raises a stench.
During the rains, because of the natural slope, the litter trail is washed down to the Porur lake, which the Metrowater plans to use as a source of drinking water.
“Since this is the place where water enters the lake, preventing pollution is not as simple as building a wall,” said Harris Sultan, an Arappor Iyakkam activist, involved in restoration of waterbodies.
“Since only 30 acres of the lake are filled with water through the year, the remaining 200 acres of lake are overgrown with shrubs and subject to pollution and all the waste reaches the lake during the monsoon,” he told Express.
It is not just the Porur lake that is facing unauthorised disposal of trash, further down the stretch. The Vanagaram panchayat has resumed dumping waste under the Maduravoyal flyover after a brief pause following an Express article regarding the issue in August 2017.
The unauthorised collection point is a smouldering mess and has relapsed with even construction waste being dumped there.
With mercury levels dropping, motorists complain of a resting smog in the area at night which reduces the visibility.
“The carcinogenic smoke is only a long-term hazard, but the reduced visibility poses a threat to two-wheelers,” said Anand Krishnan, a daily commuter.
When Express contacted the officials of Vanagaram panchayat in August, they said since there was no collection point allocated to them, they were using highways land as an interim collection point.
With the Keerapakkam facility allocated for managing solid waste of town panchayats, yet to be commissioned, there seems to be no respite for motorists who feel suffocated and blinded by the smoldering collection point.