CHENNAI: Only last week, the Chief Minister’s special cell had assured the local residents that medical waste would not be dumped in the Tiruneermalai lake anymore. However, on Tuesday, in yet another case, large amounts of expired medical items were dumped on the lake bed once again.
”Our department field staff are supervising this lake day and night, to prevent the illegal disposal of expired medicine,” said the reply on October 1, to a complaint filed by Pugazhvendhan V, a local resident.
But the Public Works Department and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board don’t seem to have done justice to the reply. Local residents, who spotted the waste on Tuesday, said the waste was burnt completely and most of it was in ashes.
”Multivitamin injections, paracetamol, and several other medicines including syringes connected with pregnancy related issues, were found among the ash heap,” said Vinoth Gajendran, a local resident, who is from the pharmaceutical field.
The residents said the waste was dumped near the residential locality alongside the bund of the lake.
”People may step in without slippers, and syringes may pierce their legs. The cows also graze on the bunds of the lake and may get hurt,” added Vinoth. Photos shared by locals to Express reveal that an injection called ‘Emevit’, manufactured by ‘MEDIISPECS’, was dumped in the lake. It had expired in March itself. Express had reported multiple times on this issue, with the recent one being in August.
The only thing that has changed, is the location where the waste was dumped. Every time the Pallavaram Municipality cleans the waste, it again pops up and a permanent solution has not been arrived at, yet.
The lake, located in the city’s suburbs, is spread across 167 acres and is an important source of agriculture in the area. However, over the years, it has borne the brunt of abundant sewage and chemical discharge.
Pughalvendhan V, who spearheaded the campaign to de-weed the Seemai Karuvellam, an invasive species grown in the lake, said the medical waste being dumped regularly is an additional burden. ”If it is normal garbage, we can move easily but since this is medical waste, it is risky to touch it,” said Pughalvendhan.
Express brought this to the attention of PWD and TNPCB officials on Tuesday. They promised to inspect the spot.