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Fight or flight?

Bird menace has been troubling the capital city for some time.

Published: 09th September 2021 07:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th September 2021 07:10 AM   |  A+A-

The heaps of waste attract birds in large numbers, which in turn pose many threats to the safe operation of flights, especially while landing at the airport, endangering human lives | Vincent Pulickal

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Waste dumped from fish markets and illegal slaughterhouses around the airport area is attracting flocks of birds, threatening the safety of flights  . City corporation will start door-to-door collection of food waste in Vallakadavu to resolve the issue

Bird menace has been troubling the capital city for some time. Now, it is endangering human lives. Due to the dumping of waste along the NH-66 bypass by fish markets and illegal slaughterhouses operating in the vicinity of the Thiruvananthapuram airport as well as residents, birds are hampering the operation of flights. They also pose a risk to the pilots approaching from the Kovalam side via Muttathara to land at the airport. 

To reduce the dumping of waste near the airport, the city corporation will soon start door-to-door collection of food waste from more than 300 households in the Vallakadavu area. The civic body has been receiving several complaints from the airport authorities and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) regarding waste dumping along the road. While several warnings were issued, the illegal practice continues unabated. 

“There were many incidents of bird hits at the airport in the past. It was mainly due to the waste being dumped near the airport as it attracted birds in large numbers, causing inconvenience to pilots. To avoid such incidents, we thought of coming up with a solution to reduce waste dumping,” said a corporation official.

Valiyathura police officials and NHAI also have been complaining to the corporation regarding the dumping of slaughter waste by meat vendors. “Last year, a joint inspection was carried out by the airport authorities, the city corporation and the police to check bird menace on the instructions of the district collector and the Airfield Environment Management Committee (AEMC). During the inspection, dump yards, open markets and unauthorised meat vendors and butchers were identified. However, a final decision is yet to be taken to tackle the menace,” said a corporation official.

While 44 suspected bird-hits were reported at Thiruvananthapuram airport in 2019, 14 such cases were reported till March last year, said the airport authorities. Though they came up with interesting ways to tackle the bird menace which included bird chasers and firecrackers, those weren’t permanent solutions as birds kept coming back due to the waste dumped near the area.

While NHAI has been removing the heaps of poultry waste along the main road and service roads, many continue to dump waste at the same place. “Poultry and other food waste is being dumped even now which leads to  clogging. Though we have been removing the waste regularly to avoid clogs, miscreants continue to dump waste at night. The mayor has promised to find a solution,” says P Pradeep, an NHAI project manager. 

According to Vallakadavu ward councillor Shajida Nazar, the local body has identified the households which would be brought under the door-to-door collection system. “To prevent waste dumping, an arrangement has been made for meat vendors operating in the airport area. We will soon hold a meeting with the health wing of the corporation along with the meat vendors and provide facilities for waste collection and disposal,” Shajida said.

Airport director C V Ravindran said, “We are ensuring that the landing of the flights is safe and free from bird hits. The waste produced at the airport is segregated in a proper way inside the premises. Currently, there are hardly any bird-hit issues but we are taking measures to keep birds away.” 

Bird-hits

44 suspected cases reported at the airport in 2019

14 cases reported in 2020 till March

The airport has been deploying bird chasers and using firecrackers to scare the birds away

Corporation has been receiving several complaints from airport authorities and NHAI regarding waste dumping

Though NHAI has been cleaning the main road and service roads, many continue to dump waste here



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