Plastic waste threatens Madikeri with diseases

Madikeri’s landfill site has seen unprecedented dumping of unsegregated waste over the last two weeks with officials worried that the tonnes of plastic waste generated at relief centres may soon turn into mosquito breeding grounds.

Situated near Raja Seat, the Stone Hill dumping yard had two sheds where the waste was segregated till recently. However, the sheds have partially collapsed following the floods and segregation has come to a stop as workers have been diverted to clean relief centres. As water flows towards the city due to the sustained moderate rain, it is bringing all the rot in the hill back to the city.

Volunteers working at relief camps have flagged the issue, noting that vector-borne diseases will prove deadly for the district which is already suffering. “Officials are already stressed out by the flood-relief work and an outbreak of diseases like dengue and malaria will render waste all measures taken to help flood victims,” a volunteer at Ambedkar Bhavan said.

District Health Officer Dr Rajesh Surgihalli said they were aware of the issue and have taken it up with higher-ups. “As of now, we have no signs of any communicable disease. We are taking steps to reduce the use of plastic as it will facilitate mosquito breeding,” he said.

He said a meeting was held and plans have been drawn up to take the plastic waste to a recycling plant near Mysuru.

“We have also suggested that use of water bottles in relief centres should be stopped in a phased manner by switching over to bigger cans. Steps will be taken to ensure segregation at source,” he said.

However, an official with the municipal corporation said there were no workers for segregation. “Most of the municipal workers are busy cleaning relief centres. They also have regular work of cleaning the city. We hope the rain will stop so that we can take help from the Mysuru corporation in handling the waste at Stone Hill,” he said.

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