Armed with enzymes used in the effort to clean up River Yamuna, Leena Anil, a long-time resident and entrepreneur, decided to look at a long-term solution to the problems. The enzyme contains water, jaggery, vegetable and fruit peels.
“For over a year now, I have been meeting the local MLA and officials at the Greater Chennai Corporation and Public Works Department (PWD). They did help us, but there was no long-term solution,” said Leena.
Leena, who began adding the enzyme to the patch of the canal right outside her office a few weeks ago, claimed it began to show results. “We think it has worked because the buzz and the stench has reduced. The only issue is that we need a consistent source of water – about 1,000 litres to mix the enzymes,” she said.
The enzymes are a costly proposition for just one resident to take up, as it costs Rs 50 to 70 per litre. Leena has already purchased 25 litres of it, and has reached out to the Environmentalist Foundation of India. “We are looking at cleaning it up both upstream and downstream rather than just one patch,” she added.
The Corporation has promised to carry out one more round of clean-up for the canal with the help of robotic excavator, but the residents term it as a temporary solution. Zone 9 officials maintained that work was underway to desilt canals and stormwater drains as part of the monsoon preparation works. “The canals across the city are being cleaned up as part of the work. However, there is a schedule for it and we will follow it for the use of robotic excavator. It will be attended to shortly,” said an official.
Another Corporation official added that dumping of trash into the canal is also an issue that needs to be addressed. “We had awareness programmes for the residents. They should also cooperate with us for the canal’s maintenance,” the official added.