Chennai: Thick smoke engulfed Chitlapakkam as the half-acre dumpyard near the lake here caught fire in the midnight of Monday, forcing students and staff of the nearby government high school to shut their windows.
The fire which caught residents’ attention at around 5 in the morning took over 11 hours to put it off. The aftermath of the fire left the lanes of nearby areas in thick smoke. “Rag pickers who collect the electrical items from the garbage dump set up a fire, to make their job easy. We have filed a complaint with the Chitlapakkam police station,” said executive officer of Chitlapakkam town panchayat.
Of the 10 tonnes of garbage generated in the Chitlapakkam town panchayat, a total of 4 tonnes reaches the dump yard, while the rest of it is segregated and processed by the civic body.
Fire accidents at the dump yard are frequent, say, residents. “We often suffer in suffocation as the doors and windows need to be shut. The strength of the government school has also decreased drastically,” said resident Sundararaman.
Former president of the town panchayat R. Mohan said, “The district administration allotted a space at Keerapakkam to dump the solid waste from the town panchayats of Chitlapakkam, Guduvanchery, Peerkankaranai and Perungalathur. But, we could not use the space, as the locals protested against it.”