KOCHI: If one side of Marine Drive walkway offers a picturesque view; that of the flamboyant Gulmohar blooms and sunset, the other side cuts a sorry picture.
Despite being one of the busiest tourist spots, Marine Drive is turning into a dump yard, with little waste management and lack of basic facilities. Plastic and other waste dot the walkway while stench from the area deters tourists who opt for a stroll.
"Tourists buy food and ice creams from the shops here and dump the wrapper and waste here itself. We do not have a single wastebasket here, so the wastes get piled up," said a shopkeeper.
The Greater Cochin Development Authority is responsible for the upkeep of Marine Drive. "The workers sweep the premises and dump the waste either on to the backwaters or to the side of the walkway. There were many instances wherein boat trips had to be cancelled due to the unbearable stink emanating from the polluted water," said an employee of the private boat service operating there. The discolouration of water also implies heavy pollution.
Besides the waste issues, open defecation and urination have also become an issue near the walkway. Whenever an event happens at Marine Drive, the organisers construct makeshift bathrooms but fails to dispose of the waste properly. "They cover it with soil and the stink remains. Our business gets affected by it," said Sheela, one of the shopkeepers.
When asked, GCDA chairman V Saleem says he is not aware of the situation."Cleaning is our responsibility but toilet facilities don't come under our department. I don't think GCDA cleaning workers would dump garbage in the lake. But, I will look into the matter and take necessary steps," he said.
But, when queried, a Corporation official said the installation of toilet was the responsibility of GCDA. "If the GCDA had given us NOC for construction of toilets, we would have done so. But, so far there is no positive move from the part of the authority," said the official.