CHENNAI: Mounds of debris, tonnes of waste and sewage — Chennai’s rivers continue to get severely polluted as lorries openly dump raw sewage into the Cooum and Adyar rivers, and Buckingham Canal. Two weeks ago, a resident spotted a sewage lorry with a capacity of 24,000 litres emptying all its contents into a dry canal leading to the Cooum river near Red Hills-Madhavaram area.
Shocked to spot this activity just a few metres away from Guntur-Chennai highway as it was close to a toll gate which is frequented by many passersby, the resident, who lives in Pallikaranai, said, “Around 3 pm, I saw this lorry dumping sewage into a dry canal. There was no lake nearby. This canal leads straight to the Cooum river. This activity was a common sight near Maduravoyal bypass. As police patrolling has increased there, lorries are shifting their location here,” said the resident, who wished to stay anonymous.
Fearing repercussions, he did not stop the lorry or question the driver. Instead, he recorded the incident on his phone and posted it on social media platforms to alert the authorities.
Secluded roads under bridges near Maduravoyal, Thiruverkadu and Poonamallee continue to be a hotspot for such illegal activity. Though police patrolling has increased under the Maduravoyal bypass along Noombal Road, close to 40 lorries still dump sewage into Cooum river every day, said residents. Four kilometres away, along 200 ft Vanagaram-Ambattur Bypass Road, the same activity continues to happen uncurbed for five years now.
“Near Ambattur bypass, close to 100 lorries dump sewage into stormwater drains every day. The drivers put black paint on the number plate so that they cannot be traced easily. We residents are fed up of constantly complaining to the authorities,” said Jeyachandran JC, a resident. Buckingham Canal hasn’t been spared from this problem either. Two locations along OMR between Padur and Kazhipattur also suffer from this dumping issue. For the past four years, raw sewage have been dumped into the Buckingham Canal between this stretch. Though officials are well aware of this, not much has been done in the past or now to stop this, said residents. Officials from Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and Metro Water Board said they will look into the problem immediately and seize the lorries.