Illegal dump yards on Muttukadu backwaters cleared, top officials conduct inspections
This comes less than a week after The New Indian Express published an article highlighting the illegal dumping. Officials from three panchayats said close to 1,000 tonnes of mixed waste was removed.
CHENNAI: Taking swift action, officials have cleared all the five illegal dump yards that had cropped up on the banks of the Muttukadu backwaters between boat house and Navalur. Hundreds of tonnes of waste were removed and the Chengalpattu district administration has also beefed up surveillance in the area.
This comes less than a week after The New Indian Express published an article highlighting the illegal dumping that was also endangering the flora and fauna of the Muttukadu backwaters, which has been recognised as an Important Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Area (ICMBA) by the Union Environment Ministry.
Officials from three panchayats -- Muttukadu, Navalur and Padur -- said close to 1,000 tonnes of mixed waste was removed from the sites and safely transported out.
On Saturday evening, Justice P Jyothimani, Chairman of State Monitoring Committee constituted by National Green Tribunal for Solid Waste Management, Chengalpattu district collector A John Louis, Commissioner of Municipal Administration K Baskaran and KS Palanisamy, director of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, visited the spots. They later held a detailed meeting to find a permanent solution to the problem.
The residents of Hiranandani Upscale have submitted a representation to Justice Jyothimani and the district collector requesting them to protect and revive the backwaters.
Justice Jyothimani has instructed the Public Works Department (PWD) officials, who maintain the backwaters, to clear the waste debris and Prosopis juliflora (Seemai karuvelam) on the banks of the backwaters. "We will visit again after 10 days to see the progress," Jyothimani told The New Indian Express.
Meanwhile, collector John Louis assured that police patrolling would be beefed up in the area to deter any illegal dumping again. The access point from where vehicles used to reach the backwaters and dump the waste and raw sewage has been sealed and CCTV cameras have been installed.
Cleaning of Muttukadu backwaters and its banks is crucial as it serves as a flood carrier for the entire south Chennai along with the Buckingham Canal. Also, for Kovalam to get the international Blue Flag beach recognition, these backwaters should be clean.
One of the important parameters to get the Blue Flag recognition is to have good water quality. If the raw sewage and mixed waste gets flushed into the sea through Kovalam estuary, the government's initiative to develop Kovalam beach would fall flat.