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Canal on Kottivakkam stretch spews out ‘toxic’ effluents

The stretch of the Buckingham Canal in Kottivakkam, which is polluted by industrial effluents, illegal sewage lines and garbage dumping, has started foaming on the water surface, becoming an eyesore for locals besides causing huge damage to local environment.

Canal on Kottivakkam stretch spews out ‘toxic’ effluents
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Frothy effluents on Kottivakkam stretch of Buckingham canal

Chennai

Residents living in the locality say that the stench becomes unbearable, especially in the night, as small-scale industries dotting the OMR area are letting of effluents into the canal. Thirty-eight-year-old Asokan, a plumber living in a hamlet close to the canal, said that the foaming has been going on for the last few months. 

“The industrial effluents, with their chemicals, are being let into the canal. During the nights, there is a strong stench of chemicals, due to which we cannot sleep. When it is windy, the foam spreads across the area,” he said. Rajkumar, an auto driver residing in the vicinity, said, “We don’t know which are the companies releasing the effluents. We have complained, but no action has been taken.” 

Architect Prithvi Mahadevan of Agam Sei, an NGO that is mapping the Buckingham Canal, said the Kottivakkam stretch has a cement in-situ plant, that lets out the sewage into the canal. “This is not the only offender. There are other companies that let out the sewage into the canal, especially during the night,” he said. Vikram Krishnakumar, an entrepreneur, said that it is the ugliest stretch in the otherwise-pristine East Coast Road. 

A resident of Kottivakkam, he said, “There is a lot of garbage dumped here, which goes to the sea. The canal is highly polluted due to a string of small industries letting of their effluents into the waterbody. In addition to this, many of the houses have connected their sewerage lines illegally to the canal. There is a strong stench which is unbearable.” 

The residential area surrounding the canal faces a host of sanitation problems, including mosquito menace and poor quality of groundwater. Prakash Dakshinamoorthy, a resident of Kannappa Nagar, which is a stone’s throw from the canal, said, “There is a mosquito menace throughout the year due to the canal. Residents face a lot of inconvenience.” Harish Raman, another resident of Neelankarai, said that it is very tough to cross the bridge on foot. 

“We have been staying here for the last seven years and the situation has remained the same. The people who stay on the banks suffer more due to the stench,” he added. When contacted, Mani, Superintending Engineer, Public Works Department (PWD), Palar Basin Circle, Chennai Region, told DTNext “We have not received any complaint regarding this issue. However, we will inspect the canal soon.” 

The PWD, along with Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), will take stern action against any industry polluting the canal, assured the official.

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