On Thursday this week, three trucks carrying medical and meat waste from Kerala were caught dumping their load at Semmanambudhi village near Pollachi, Tamil Nadu. The locals sniffed suspicious movements of trucks from Kerala in their village. When the locals decided to find what the trucks were up to, they discovered that they were in the village to dump heaps of medical waste in a large pit on land owned by Kerala native Saju Antony Jose.
Police have booked Jose for permitting the trucks to dispose of waste. Jose had bought a piece of land in the village sometime back. As per police, locals saw a huge pit being dug at Jose’s land using an earthmover. Soon, three trucks came to the spot and started dumping waste into the pit. The farmers, scandalised by the developments, mobilised a few more villagers and reached the spot. There they found the waste of one of the trucks being dumped into the pit while the other two trucks were preparing to dispose of their waste.
As soon as the truck drivers and their helpers saw villagers approaching, they fled the spot. The villagers called police and revenue department officials and informed them about the incident. A short while later, a group of revenue officials arrived at the spot with police personnel. They found that similar such pits were in the ground and waste was dumped in the past also.
The three trucks and the earthmover has been confiscated by the police. Meanwhile, the landowner is on the run. A case has been booked against him, the police said.
Border villages in neighbouring states afflicted by the menace of waste disposal from Kerala
This is not an isolated incident. Villages along the border with Kerala often witness similar incidents where garbage from across the border is transported and dumped in their areas. Several demonstrations have taken place in the past and the revenue officials had acted against the violators. However, the villagers claim that unless vehicle checking is thoroughly carried out at the border check posts, such incidents will continue to happen.
A year back, a similar case of waste being transported from Kerala to the border villages of the neighbouring state of Karnataka was reported. Hundreds of tonne of bio-medical waste, plastic and electronic waste from Kerala was being illegally transported across the border through trucks and dumped across Mysuru.
Though the state pollution control board and district authorities highlighted the violation repeatedly, the trucks continue to get through by bribing the guards at the border check-posts. The trucks entered Karantaka through Blaavi check-post and passed through HD Kote taluk, Moolehole check-post to reach Mysuru and Mandya, taking the Mysuru-Bengaluru highway.
The trucks carried waste such as—biomedical products, e-waste, plastic, used liquor bottles, clothes and paper—from hospitals, hotels and local businesses in Kerala. Officials at the check post were bribed so that trucks carrying wastage could be allowed to enter Karnataka where they could dump their load.
In 2016, environmental activists had confiscated 23 trucks from Kerala that were surreptitiously filled with wastes including medical wastes, which was being taken to agricultural land in the outskirts of Coimbatore for dumping.