Chennai floods: 10,000 tonnes cleared, city still grapples with sludge, garbage

While most of the flood planes remain cluttered with garbage, city corporation workers and volunteers were busy clearing whatever they could on Tuesday.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Published: December 9, 2015 12:15:11 am
Volunteers clean the sludge, Tuesday. Volunteers clean the sludge, Tuesday.

WITH THE relief work underway and over 200 government and non-government medical camps screening thousands of people everyday, Chennai city and suburbs are left with sludge and tonnes of garbage.

While most of the flood planes remain cluttered with garbage, city corporation workers and volunteers were busy clearing whatever they could on Tuesday.

Several doctors, who screened patients in various parts of Chennai, said the city is so far free from any major disease. “Health situation is completely under the control. Other than usual fever and skin infections, no major cases were reported today. Some of the medicines, including ointments for infections, were also made available from Tuesday,” said a senior government doctor who has screened over 500 patients.

However, health experts said the piling garbage would cause diseases if not cleared immediately. A senior corporation official said that besides the waste and sludge from flood waters, tonnes of plastic waste is also being collected. “Thousands of water bottles are being distributed and that alone adds a huge quantity to our cleaning work. There may not be an immediate solution other than cleaning the streets and residential areas immediately, but the huge quantity of plastic waste is becoming a serious matter of concern,” he said.

Kotturpuram, where thousands of houses including those of slum dwellers were washed away, remained in dirt and waste where corporation officials were seen spraying disinfectants as people fought for limited drinking water and other relief material.

Interestingly, food supplies have been reported in excess at many places while sanitation remains a major challenge as the corporation has not been able to provide enough mobile toilets.

Officials said that over 20,000 workers are deployed in various parts of the city to clean the garbage and sludge. “Besides, we have brought in over 6,000 workers from other civic bodies. Over 10,000 tonnes of waste has been already removed, which is the double of the usual waste collection of around 5,000 tonnes. Even though roads could not be repaired immediately, we are repairing badly damaged stretches,” said a senior corporation official.

The city corporation also announced Tuesday seeking more volunteers to join relief work. A senior official said there is no permission to use social media to mobilise volunteers fearing criticism. “So we are using our friends circle to mobilise maximum volunteers, which is currently inadequate. Although we have all relief items to distribute, there are very few volunteers. We have limitations to go beyond the official plan and coordinate with private groups,” an official said.

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