Gummidipoondi residents up ante against landfill site

New Indian Express
TAMIL NADU April 18, 2005

CHENNAI: Taking ahead their protest against the proposed landfill site in their locality, residents of suburban Gummidipoondi have decided to organise a rally and public meeting on April 17.

Earlier, they had raised serious objection, to the move of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board’s (TNPCB) to have the landfill site there, but that does seem to have cut any ice with the authorities.

The protest meeting will be held under the banner of Gummidipoondi Environment Protection Association (GEPA).

The residents are furious about dumping of toxic waste generated by more than 380 companies from Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts in the Gummidipoondi pasture, which they fear would contaminate the abundant groundwater in the locality.

“Gummidipoondi is a water-rich agricultural land. Even Metrowater tankers collect up to 200 tanker water per day from here in summer. Now they are going to pollute the entire groundwater reserve here by dumping the hazardous waste from the industries around,” Nityanand Jayaraman of GEPA told this website’s newspaper.

He said the livelihood of the local residents would be affected as the soil would lose its fertility.

“They are planning to dump 25,000 to 30,000 tonnes of toxic waste here. They have plans to fill up a part of Koluva Cheruvu lake by dumping these waste,” he added.

Gummidipoondi is known for its rice, maize, millet and groundnut cultivation. The residents feel that the fertile soil of Gummidipoondi would go dry because of soil contamination from toxic waste dumping.

“Our sources of drinking water will be contaminated and this would even seep into the Adambakkam lake, where a lot of inland fishing is done. The toxic waste would contaminate this lake too,” T Sudhakar of GEPA said.

He said in this area, groundwater could be found at just 6-10 feet depth. “Some companies have already started digging the land here to dump the waste. They had found water at 11 feet depth even in this hot summer,” Sudhakar said.

Regarding this project, a public hearing was organised at Thiruvallur on March 18. According to Sudhakar, not even one statement was submitted in favour of this project from the part of the public. “All the residents were against the project.

TNPCB has not given us any explanation despite continuous representation from our side. They are not coming out with a clear picture about this project,” he added.

But the TNPCB authorities of Thiruvallur district said the reaction of the public against this project was unwarranted. “The project is not yet finalised.

We had submitted the views expressed by the public in the last public hearing to the government and it has to give clearance for the plan,” a senior official from the TNPCB told this website’s newspaper.

He said the groundwater reserve of Gummidipoondi would not be affected.

“The groundwater reserve of this place would be safeguarded as the plan envisaged to dump the waste on the ground surface with special technology and no digging would be done,” he added.

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Gummidipoondi residents up ante against landfill site
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