PERAMBALUR: The indiscriminate disposal of biomedical waste into a canal along the Manamadurai-Perambalur national highway has alarmed locals and activists alike, who allege it to be the act of local pharmacies and government primary health centres (PHC)
The biomedical waste, comprising among other things, syringe needles, empty medicine boxes, and drug bottles, are also found strewn across the canal, particularly in the portion near Perali in Perambalur district. Locals mention finding the waste to often being dumped at the same spot.
Advocate T Anbumani, a resident of Olaipadi, said, "I saw medical waste dumped 100 metres away from where it is currently dumped a month ago. There were used syringes and drug bottles. This reveals that waste is constantly being dumped there. The stench from it is unbearable. This is an illegal act, and will put the health of locals and cattle at risk. The syringe needles are also likely to injure the legs of cattle head grazing in the area."
Further, pointing to the proximity of the Sithali forest extension centre where the biomedical waste is being dumped, Anbumani said, “During the rainy season, the medical waste will get washed away into a small tank in the forest through the canal. Many problems can occur if the wild animals consume that water."
Venmani Varadharajan, an activist said, ''There are a few PHCs, private clinics and illegal pharmacies located in and around Perali-Sitheli village belt. They may also be behind dumping biomedical waste there. I am not sure which one though." "The waste is dumped near farmers' fields. The stench is unbearable. There is a risk of infection from the medical waste. It must be disposed of properly.
This should be monitored effectively by the district administration and the health department," he added.
When contacted, a Perambalur health services official told TNIE, "We are not aware of the issue and have not received any complaints. However, we will inspect it and take action."