Plastics waste and garbage choke this water way near Karuparayan Koil on the city’s border with Vadavalli. “My heart stopped when I saw a thick layer of plastic waste covering what actually should be a smooth flowing canal,” says Project Co-ordinator of Siruthuli K. Mylswami. This sums up the pathetic condition of a six-km canal that brings water to Krishnampathi, one of the eight major tanks in the city. The tank is one of the eight de-silted by Siruthuli, a public initiative to conserve water bodies.
Every plastic item under the sun seems to have been dumped on one portion of the canal near Karuparayan Koil, located on the city’s western border with Vadavalli Town Panchayat. The canal should actually bring rain water to the tank from Marudamalai, Vadavalli and Somayampalayam. Another canal from Kanuvai merges with it near the city border and their joint contribution during monsoon should keep the tank full. But, only sewage flows in the canal at Karuparayan Koil.
Mr. Mylswami says waste water from houses and commercial establishments and untreated effluents from small units are let into the canal. Underground drainage and small, localised waste water treatment plants are the solution. There is very thin flow under the bridge as plastics choke it. The risks are: children in the neighbourhood can fall into it and go untraced because of the thick layer of waste; animals grazing along the canal can swallow plastics and die; ground water can get contaminated and the stagnation can pose health hazards such as mosquito breeding, he points out.
On Sunday, an excavator-cum-loader was removing shrubs and silt from along the margins of the canal in order to facilitate smooth flow of water. But, Mr. Mylswami said that to revive the canal and eliminate its abuse, a fence should be erected on either side to prevent people from dumping waste and debris into it. The canal must also be cleaned and de-silted, says Mr. Mylswami. The Bangalore-based Action for Food Production has suggested such protective measures for water ways in its detailed project report for rejuvenation of water bodies in the city. This scheme is to be implemented by the Corporation, by engaging private experts, under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.