CHENNAI: A main road runs oblivious to the river of waste just yards behind it. In a residential lane off the Madipakkam Main Road in ward-188, there’s a river of waste growing by the day. If the abundance of foul-smelling garbage and slush along at least 5-6 streets isn’t shocking enough, its surprising to see residents carrying on their daily chores by this cesspool of filth, which is supposed to be a canal.
“Many kids in our locality fall ill during the rainy season,” says Parvathi, a domestic worker who lives nearby. Residents faced a rude shock in December when the overflowing sewer, along with trash, washed through their homes, inundating every inch of their houses and belongings.
“Only when a (political) party member visits the locality, they spray mosquito repellent. Otherwise, why would they clean this place up? It’s been this way for so long, we don’t even remember a time when it was clean,” says Saradha, an elder resident of the locality, as she washes her clothes and hangs them by a heap of garbage jutting out of the filthy water.
Two weeks ago, corporation officials installed a small foundation stone to set up streetlights on the street adjoining the canal. But the lack of space on the road was glaring and makes you wonder how much more space the streetlight will occupy.
Dreading the next rains, Parvathi says if the corporation covered the drains, like they promised two years ago, it would be helpful.
“It’s not enough if they (politicians) visit before the elections and do a bit of cleaning. The area gets filthy again in no time. All of us — our elderly and children — are exposed to this and often fall sick. The animals here have plastic in their stomachs,” she rues, pointing to goats and cows eating plastic wrappers at the edge of the heap, as few more dig through the canal.