A shocking amount of waste materials, including a sanitary napkin, masks, a milk packet, biscuit wrappers, sambar sachets, polythene bags, etc were found in a pile of dung, possibly of one wild elephant, Sunday evening.
It was spotted by the members of the Coimbatore Wildlife Conservation Trust (CWCT), who are involved in various volunteer activities of the Forest Department, when they made a stop on the Maruthamalai Temple Hill Road in Coimbatore district.
A video of CWCT president Muruganandam Thiruganasambandam and other members pulling out waste materials from the dung pile has gone viral on social media with several activists slamming those who dumped the waste near the elephant corridor and urged the government to initiate necessary action.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Muruganandam said they were informed that a herd of five elephants — two adults, one sub-adult and two calves — was spotted on the Maruthamalai Hill Road Sunday early morning and hence had gone to trace their pathway.
“When we checked the pile of dung, we found 300-gram plastic waste. The dung left behind could be that of a single elephant. We have found plastic waste in dung piles even in the past but were shocked to see masks and sanitary napkins in this one,” he added.
According to him, the waste collected by the Somaiyampalayam panchayat is dumped on a landfill near the temple adivaram, turning the land into a ground for animals, including elephants, wild boars, gaurs and deer, to search for food. He added, “If the waste contains something sharp, it can cause fatal damage to the animals.”
Muruganandam further said, “We registered our protest against the dump yard but couldn’t do much. In fact, the stench arising from the dump yard causes inconvenience to those who visit the temple. Notices have been issued by the forest department as well. Despite proof, the panchayat claims no such incident is taking place. Each time we get information about elephants gathering at the dump yard, our team visits the place and disperses the herd to prevent them from eating plastic waste. The Coimbatore District Forest officer has written a letter to the District Collector and we hope some steps will be initiated,” he added.