Tamil Nadu suffers despite raising alarm

Tamil Nadu suffers despite raising alarm

Representative image/iStock

It’s common to see huge piles of waste as one passes through areas in Tirunelveli, Theni and Coimbatore districts in Tamil Nadu. For the past few years, these districts have been visibly affected by the dumping of medical waste from Kerala.

READ: Kerala chokes Karnataka with toxic waste

The illegal dumping is incessant despite Tamil Nadu government officials regularly seizing dozens of trucks carrying waste from Kerala at the border and send them back to the state. People in these districts bordering Kerala have been complaining that some of their villages and roads have been turned into a “garbage dumping yard” by the neighbouring state.

ALSO READ: Why does the most literate state lag in waste disposal?

Activists say Kerala hasn’t taken any proactive steps on the issue despite being fined lakhs of rupees for dumping waste in Tamil Nadu. In 2018, 27 trucks carrying hazardous medical waste were seized by officials of the Regional Transport Authority in Tirunelveli district, while Rs 27 lakh was imposed as fine on vehicles that attempted to dump medical waste in Coimbatore district in 2016.

Incidents of hospitals from Kerala dumping medical waste in Theni district were reported this January. Grassroots activists told DH that they have been demanding that Kerala should set up sufficient waste management facilities instead of dumping waste in the neighbouring state.

ALSO READ: Kerala acts on Karnataka’s complaint, cracks whip on Bio-medical Waste Rules violation

“Dumping of hazardous medical wastes in Tamil Nadu continues unabated despite warnings and imposing of heavy fines,” a senior Regional Transport Authority official said. 

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