Talking to DT Next, Annadurai, founder-trustee of the society, who holds an MSc in Ecology and Environmental Science and an M Tech in Environmental Engineering from Pondicherry Central University, said that the government’s focus has been on damage control, rather than working out ways to nip the problem in its bud.
“They are building drains and culverts to mitigate the impact. That is in no way a solution for the problem,” he said.
The society will look at areas like biodiversity, groundwater recharge, micro climate maintenance and control of pollution levels. “People think protecting the environment means planting saplings, but they don’t seem to think if the planted sapling will get nourished by the groundwater below,” he added, pointing out to the problems closer home, in Chitlapakkam, where the lake has shrunk due to incessant dumping of garbage.
Among many other aspects of the ecosystem, Annadurai is also addressing source segregation as an important way to reduce the garbage that reaches landfills. He noted, “With wet waste comprising 60 per cent of the total waste, when you begin composting in big residential complexes, you are already reducing the amount generated in these places by fifty per cent.”
Back in Chitlapakkam, he is batting for the establishment of sewage treatment plant and decentralisation of garbage disposal at each ward. “The water from the plant can be let into the lake that needs continuous supply of water. I am looking at watershed levels and preservation of waterbodies as the means to prevent any damage to the environment. There is rapid development in the area and people seem to have forgotten the natural path of water for the lakes around,” he said.
Annadurai has been worked in private concerns and NGOs addressing solid waste management and also studied the Adyar River from its source. He has been part of the project in Madhavaram Truck terminal, where a solid waste management programme was implemented.