Environmentalists and naturalists of Chennai, capital city of India's southern state Tamil Nadu are worried.
A portion of the water in the marshlands of Pallikaranai has turned red. Experts attribute this to the dumping of garbage in the marshland.
This is not all. This polluted water had wiped out the vegetation, in turn driving away small waterfowls, local migrants, the flora and the microorganisms from the area.
According to Jayshree Vencatesan of Care Earth, a bio-diversity research organization, the systematic dumping of garbage is reason for the water turning color. She says the discharge from the 4,000-4,500 tons of un-segregated garbage let into the marsh, has not only contaminated the groundwater in the region but also putrefied the surface water.
Defying public opinion, scientific inputs, and the norms set by a high level committee, which recommended that the dumping be restricted to 200 acres and active measures be taken up for source segregation, the garbage dump has gone on to virtually kill the entire northern segment of the marsh.
Collaborating with German environmentalists , Care Earth also highlighted the major role of this dump in causing floods and health hazards to residents of Perungudi and southern parts of Velachery.
Vencatesan says the discharge from the freshly dumped garbage has killed the chlorophyll-based life in the water, resulting in the change of color to red . " This is only the first stage before the water turns completely black and putrid" , she warns.
Now the polluted water is slowly creeping into the southern part of the marsh, which is a reserved forest. Naturalists and environmentalists were demanding the protection of both the southern and northern segment. There was no point in protecting the southern part of the marsh while continuing to dump garbage in the northern segment, they emphasize . They call for an immediate testing of these waters by the TNPCB .
Another hazard posed by the garbage disposal on the Pallavaram-Thoraippakkam Radial Road near the Pallikaranai marsh is risks faced by motorists and other road-users .
According to a senior Corporation officer , during the night hours garbage collected from the nearby village panchayats are being illegally dumped on the road. Recently, the Corporation used earthmovers to push the waste into the marsh again. In order to stop such illegal dumping, the civic body has posted adequate personnel to stop or monitor such activities. According to naturalists and Solid Waste Management experts, the only solution to the problem lies in source segregation at home.