Beemapally: Stinky menace

According to the residents, the coastal region has been suffering from inadequate waste management infrastructure for a long time.
Stagnant pool of waste water near Beemapally
Stagnant pool of waste water near Beemapally

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : The need for more attention to the well-being of the people living in coastal areas becomes evident as one enters Beemapally. Heaps of waste being dumped near the back gate of the mosque have become distressing for residents.

Beemapally, a revered spiritual space that often attracts pilgrims, is now in poor condition due to a myriad of issues, especially the clogged drains that have become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. According to the residents, the coastal region has been suffering from inadequate waste management infrastructure for a long time.

Currently, to prevent unhygeinic and overflowing rain water from entering homes, the authorities are using an empty plot to redirect water from drains. Now, the plot, deepend to hold water is a sore sight and health menace for the people here.

This plot is near the back gate of Beemapally mosque and the Fishnet Factory operated by Matsyafed. “The recent rains have made the situation even worse,” says A Shajahan, a resident of Beemapally.

“We have been dealing with this problem for as long as I can remember. We are running out of places to dispose of our trash, and it’s causing major health issues among the people here,” he adds.

According to Shajahan, the residents have reached out to their ward councillor and the Poonthura health department, asking them to act on the situation.

“But despite our pleas, they keep telling us they have done all they can. They are suggesting that we find a spot to dump waste ourselves. But how can we do that? It would make a world of difference if the concerned authorities could step in and help us out,” Shajahan says.

Health inspector Vinod Balakrishnan, who oversees the area, says the drainage system is weak, which results in an overflow of water and the formation of stagnant pools near the Fishnet Factory.

“We have received information that the government is planning to construct a residential complex in the area to accommodate 400 people. In conjunction with this project, there are plans to implement an advanced waste treatment system. This is expected to address and resolve the existing connectivity issues with the local drain system,” says Vinod.

He adds that a proper waste management system also calls for the support of the locals.

“Despite our efforts to mitigate the problem, there’s an issue of individuals continuing to illegally dispose of the waste in the drainage during the night. The property in question falls under the ownership of a nursing college, and we have told them to take preventive measures, such as constructing a wall and employing security,” adds Vinod.

Nowshad Mohammed Rasheed, executive of the Fishnet Factory Matsyafed, also points out the issue of nighttime dumping. “The area has become stinky, and there are disturbances from birds as they peck on the waste. To prevent nighttime dumping and identify offenders, a CCTV camera will be installed to alert authorities.”

In addition to nighttime dumping, Beemapally East Councilor Sudheer J explains that the nearby houses also channel their wastewater, including septic waste to the drain.

“Despite knowing it’s illegal, residents do this because they live in constrained areas of just 1 or 2 cents and have no space to build proper septic tanks or even set up a waste disposal system. That’s why the wastewater accumulates there,” he says.

As the issue persists, residents rue the improper utilisation of a nearby sewage treatment plant that comes under the corporation.

However, Sudheer says, there are technical challenges that prevent the direct usage of the plant”.

A separate pump house and pipelines are required, but there has been no directive to implement this at the plant yet. This is a large project, and the corporation is working on a comprehensive plan to address the issues. Efforts are being made to find a solution, and the process is ongoing,” says Sudheer.

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