Chennai, A village near Chennai is up in arms against a state government plan to dump hazardous waste from about 400 industrial units.
The Tamil Nadu
government's plan to set up a waste landfill site in Gummidipoondi
village in the northern outskirts of Chennai city, bordering Nellore
district of Andhra Pradesh, has run into open hostility from the
The planned dump
will have a capacity of 12,000 tonnes per year. About 3,364 tonnes of
spent solvents, waste oils, pesticide wastes, polychlorinated biphenyls
and organic waste from three northern Tamil Nadu districts can also be
burnt and buried in the site for 25 years.
statistics fail to impress the villagers, who have raised an alarm on
fears of health and groundwater contamination.
"We will not let our beautiful farmlands get poisoned by this toxic dump," said Y. Krishnamaraju, a 78-year-old farmer.
district had rejected a similar plan last year, villagers said. Their
vehement protests have led the state government to call for a public
hearing on the issue Friday.
In January, the
National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) had
submitted an environmental appraisal report on a preliminary evaluation
of the proposed site.
It said the site
was a potential area for groundwater exploitation, had very good
groundwater quality, was close to a major drainage (Araniyar) and could
provide alternative source of water supply to Chennai in summer.
NEERI, "From a perusal of all these criteria, it would appear that the
proposed landfill facility may not be located at Gummidipoondi."
The district gets
a rainfall of more than 1,000 mm annually and there is abundant
availability of sweet groundwater and fertile soil, which makes
Gummidipoondi a major agricultural area.
Protection Agency guidelines say landfills should not be in areas with
a high groundwater table and with porous or permeable soil that are
close to human habitation, near drinking water sources and prone to
However, the Goomidipundi site is within 500 metres of farming communities.
fears is the fact that the village is flanked by three drinking
reservoirs - the Poondi, Red Hills and Sholavaram reservoirs - that are
important drinking water sources for Chennai.
Studies have also
found that children born near landfill sites have low birth-weight and
newborns tend to have higher rates of birth defects.
Industrial Waste Management Association and the Tamilnadu Pollution
Control Board entrusted with the job of setting up the landfill in the
Export Promotion Industrial Park, Gummidipoondi can only keep its