Chennai patrol- Kodungaiyur dump yard tops heap of problems

IPE Global’s Project, “Providing Transaction Advisory Services & Preparation of Feasibility Reports for Various SWM Initiatives Under Various Packages for Greater Chennai Corporation on PPP Mode” has been extensively covered by Times of India Chennai print edition. The coverage mentions IPE Global’s role as well as the challenges the residents have been facing due to the dumping yard at Kodungaiyur site.

A bridge across the Kodungaiyur canal connects the slum located behind north Chennai’s toxic landfill. Garbage flows through the canal, further down a line of trucks dump trash col trucks dump trash collected from across the city . Though burning of garbage is banned, smoke billows at a distance. The fire is possibly started by the people who have found some use for the unwanted materials like empty cans, bent iron rods, or steel scrap, anything that could fetch a few rupees.

Many of the hands that scour the putrid waste are of school dropouts and the elderly .Silver-haired Vasantha slouches over a pile of waste with her three granddaughters. The eldest among them, 18-year-old Anandhi was a child bride, and has studied till Class 5. None of them have identity cards. “We have been born and brought up in the dump yard, nothing here will infect us,” says Anandhi before they make their way back home to seek value for the collection of the day . While those like Anandhi live off the landfill, residential neighbourhoods at the entrance of the dump yard have been fighting to shut it for years. One of the least satisfied neighbourhoods in the city , Tondiarpet zone, also includes the chief minister’s constituency, RK Nagar. But the stink that rises from Kodungaiyur affects all. A health hazard for the poor and an eyesore for the welloff, 35% of the respondents of the TOI survey on Tondiarpet were not happy with cleanliness and sanitation.

The problems in Kodungaiyur are a consequence of a failed solid waste management plan, feel many . “Before the last local body elections, chief minister Jayalalithaa promised to close all dump yards,” says Vishal C, a resident. “Though I live 3km from the yard, the stench is horrendous and when I come back home late at night, my eyes burn.”

Despite making an announcement in 2012 to shift the dump yard, the corporation appointed a consultant to study its closure this year. After several shelved plans, IPE Global, an international development consultant company , was appointed to prepare a report to study and suggest the most suitable technology to close landfills. ” After that we will be able to adopt the best practices on a large scale to recycle and process the remaining waste,” a senior official said. The Madras high court had recently rapped the civic body over delays, asking the corporation commissioner to live next to the dump yard to know its harmful effects.

“The corporation cannot have another dump yard to solve this problem,” says coordinator for Community Environmental Monitoring Program, Shweta Narayan.”Waste has to be dealt with at the source in a decentralised manner in every zone.”

In some parts of the city, the December floods was a wake-up call. Apartments took to source segregation and recycling, while startups connected people with scrap dealers. But stringent mechanisms, like shutting landfills and penalising people for not segragating waste may be the need of the hour.


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