CHENNAI: A private tanker driver was caught red-handed while dumping untreated sewage into a stormwater drain (SWD) in the city suburbs on Tuesday. While there was little action taken against this so far, a special team formed in Tiruvallur district caught the lorry driver as he was discharging untreated sewage into the stormwater drain along the AH-45 near Poonamallee.
The brazen act is a routine affair and is polluting city’s waterways as these stormwater drains are connected to Cooum and Adyar rivers. The crux of the matter is that in order to save time, the lorry operators dump sewage collected from private premises into the stormwater drains, which needs to be taken to treatment plants in Thirumazhisai or Avadi and for which only a nominal fee is levied.
In the Maduravoyal-Poonamallee stretch this is a regular practice. Recently, Tiruvallur Collector Dr Alby John formed a team to nab the perpetrators. During an inspection on Tuesday, the team headed by Poonamalle Tahsildar Shankar caught a tanker releasing untreated sewage into the drains.
Shankar told Express, “As soon as the driver saw the officials, he tried to flee. However, the team caught up with him within 200m and seized the lorry.” Three other people were there with driver, but they managed to flee. The tahsildar said the offender is fined for the first two times. When caught a third time, they are booked. “This lorry was supposed to let out the sewage in Thirumazhisai but as it is far away the driver dumped it in stormwater drains,” said Shankar.
In January, Express published a story highlighting how tankers were dumping raw sewage in the same stretch. The National Green Tribunal took cognizance of the report and pulled up various officials and asked them to file a report on why sewage was being dumped in open drains.
Activist Pughalventhan V, who has raised this issue several times in the past said despite media reports and the NGT case, there is rampant dumping of sewage in drains. “Now, one person has been caught. Hopefully, this will work as a deterrent,” he said.
Speaking to Express, Collector John said, “This drive will continue.” A statement from the Collectorate on Friday said that lorry associations must send sewage only to the treatment plants in Thirumazhisai or Avadi, and avoid dumping it in stormwater drains and lakes, adding violators will be booked under Tamil Nadu Public Health Act 134 (1) and Tamil Nadu Municipal Act (313). People who spot lorry drivers dumping sewage into open drains or lakes can call 18005997626 or 9840327626.