The rape of Pallikaranai continues unabated

Despite publicity, protests, a court ruling and the selection of the Pallikaranai lake and marsh as protected wetlands and a national natural heritage area, the Chennai Corporation continues to dump garbage there daily, and burn it. The Hindu has, in the recent past, written about this, and published pictures, time and again, of the burning refuse polluting the air and choking the waterways. To the extent that the migratory birds that have, since time immemorial, flown here from places as far away as Siberia, shifted to other ponds and lakes around the city’s Southern edge.

Then they published this article on the 6th February:

“Chennai is running short of dumping space: The Chennai corporation
area has a population of 4.2 million people. The solid waste
generated in daily is 3225 tonnes – ends up in dumping yards in
Kodungaiyur and Perungudi. This is excluding 400 tonnes of
construction debris generated daily. The city is running out of
dumping space and fast. According to Chennai Corporation’ s estimates,
the capacity of the dumping yards will be exhausted in eight years.
The non-composite waste like plastic has increased from 10 per cent to
30 per cent of the total garbage in recent years. The corporation
should dialogue with ragpickers and recyclers, who play an informal
and insignificant role in waste management.”
The Hindu, 6 February 2007, page 3

In other words, in eight years time, there will be no Pallikaranai lake, marsh or wetlands, just one vast dumping yard that cannot take anymore. Is this the respect we give our natural heritage, the courts or public opinion? When is this travesty going to stop? After eight eyars when its absolutely no use? Is there anyone out there who can help?

7 Comments so far

  1. aga (unregistered) on February 27th, 2007 @ 9:58 pm

    This is the case with even Cooum, buckingham etc. What could be cleaned, beautified and used as inland waterways ( a la Amsterdam style, probably a first in India), has been the target of constant neglect and ridicule. Preserving such nature spots within the city would lend more beauty to the city than shining skyscrapers.

  2. Balaji (unregistered) on February 28th, 2007 @ 10:22 am

    I don’t understand why the government is so ignorant in these issues…let it be cooum or Pallikaranai lake…they just don’t seem to care about any thing..there was times when ppl used to travel in cooum..but now ppl are afraid to go near it…that pallikarnai area has really gone bad, due to the dumping and burning of waste…its very difficult to travel in bike when they burn those things…

  3. david appasamy (unregistered) on February 28th, 2007 @ 4:35 pm

    I completely agree. In a previous post, I had mentioned how the government could take lessons from how the Andhra government has enabled the banks of the Hussain Sagar lake for the benefit of Hyderabad’s citizens. Imagine what we could do if the Cooum, Buckingham and Adyar were cleaned up and became leisure zones for the city!

  4. anonymous coward (unregistered) on February 28th, 2007 @ 5:29 pm

    David, here’s an idea if you want to protect the marshlands, why don’t you buy up all the marsh land in Pallikaranai. If you need money there would be many other environmentalists who will support you.
    Put your money where your Environmental mouth is.

  5. sj (unregistered) on March 1st, 2007 @ 7:47 am

    Yeah if they cleaned up the cooum and the buckingham canal and Pallikaranai why is it so difficult for the corporation of Chennai to manage and for the public to stop polluting these waterways. Maybe that can become famous in the world for being the most polluted waterways and Chemmai can become a world leader in teaching other how to destro natural habitats and waterways.

  6. Wah Wah (unregistered) on March 1st, 2007 @ 1:16 pm

    Let the talk show continue…

  7. kanan (unregistered) on March 1st, 2007 @ 8:35 pm

    Dear David,

    Happy to see citizens of chennai talk about sad affairs of Palikaranai. I just want to add that the fire is not set by anyone – there is enough marsh gas for spontaneous fires in most city garbage. Thus the dump emits methane , 20 times more potent Green House gas than CO2 !! soon some one will brand chennai as GHG producer and cut off all aid !

    Now what about some citizens action instead of just talk. There was sometime back a proposal to save Palikaranai by an NGO belonging to a political outfit , and was shot down by IUCN.

    May be you can start a genuine citizens initiative, I offer all help as one working for the environment for the past 20 yrs.

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