CHENNAI: In the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, medical waste including bagfuls of gloves and masks were found disposed of on the National Highway near Chembarambakkam.
Pugalventhan Venkatesan, an activist who has been bringing to light several instances of medical waste being dumped illegally across the city, found the waste on Poonamallee High road on Saturday morning.
“There is enough waste to fill up a small tractor. A few metres away from this place, on an empty piece of land along the roadside, more biomedical waste was found partially buried beneath the dirt,” he said.
“It is dumped near a small canal that runs to the Chembarambakkam lake. Especially during this time, when biomedical waste should be disposed of safely, this waste which looks like it’s from a hospital, has been lying around in a public space,” he added.
When he went to check on Sunday afternoon, not only was the waste still there but he found that at some distance away in Mevalurkuppam, near State Highway SH50B, traces of large quantities of ‘biomedical waste, including needles and syringes that were burnt, were found.
Pugalventhan has also filed an online complaint to the Central Pollution Control Board regarding this.
Before this, he has identified and filed complaints against several instances of illegal disposal of biomedical waste including expired medicines in Nazarathpettai in Poonamallee, at the Chennai Outer Ring Road in Kundrathur and in sex separate incidents, at the Otteru lake bund in Vandalur.
Only in two instances, sources were found and cases were filed. "In many cases, although I myself investigate the sources and file a report, no action has been taken. In some cases, I get no response at all. RTI responses say that they have advised the respective panchayats to install CCTV cameras,” Pugalventhan said.
When contacted the officials at the block level said that the waste will be cleared by Monday.
“We will also make sure to collect any evidence of the source of the waste and investigate the matter,” the official said.