18 Apr 2012
By ExpressBuzz News Service
CHENNAI: Tests conducted on air samples taken from a residential area close to the much-reviled Kodungaiyur dump yard have revealed the presence of 19 toxic chemicals that affect every part of the human body, people fighting for the closure of the dump yard have said.
Addressing a press meet in the presence of their MLA A Soundararajan, residents of the area said they would plan a series of demonstrations, fasts and protests to underline their unity against the dump yard. An air sample taken from the rooftop of a house close to the dump yard, during a fire on March 12, turned out to contain chemicals at levels far above the internationally accepted safety limits.
Benzene, a carcinogen, was found to be present a whopping 50 times above the levels considered safe for long-term exposure by the United States Environment Protection Agency (USEPA). Another carcinogen, 1-3 Butadiene, was present 8.5 times above the USEPA safety limit. Both these chemicals are known to cause cancer over long exposure.
More alarming perhaps was the level of Acrolein, which clocked in at 12.4 times the USEPA safety limit. The chemical is flagged for its harmful effects on the eyes, skin, respiratory system and heart, even for short periods of exposure.
“This is not the first time, but the third, a test of this nature has been carried out. We hope at least this report will open the eyes of Chennai Corporation, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Repeated orders by judges of the Madras High Court to stop burning have been treated with contempt. We will use the report to go to court again,” said Ramachandra Rao of the Ever Vigilant Citizens Welfare Association.
The air sample that prompted Monday’s press conference had been taken by members of the Community Environmental Management (CEM) and Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA). The tests had been conducted at the labs of Colombia Analytical Services in California, US, which also produced the report.
Decentralize Process, Says Perambur MLA
Local MLA A Soundararajan called on the city and State authorities to decentralise the process of collecting, segregating and processing of garbage.
“Every zone must have its own facility to deal with its garbage. This way we can avoid all of the citys garbage affecting the health and lives of people in just one area,” said Soundararajan.
“If garbage is not cleared from a street corner for three days, we have to walk around it. So, it is not difficult to imagine what effect the garbage of an entire city will have when heaped at one place for years,” said the MLA, who moved to the locality after being elected from the constituency.
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