Poor Sanitation Breeds Saidapet Slum’s Mosquito Woes By sukshma ramakrishnan

Chennai, December 10, 2016: The residents of Kalaignar Nagar and Thidir Nagar in the slum under Saidapet bridge in West Saidapet are facing acute sanitation problems due to poor drainage systems and dumping of garbage in the open.

The piles of dumped garbage and clogged sewage drains in the area have also become an infinite source of mosquitoes.

“The sewage is never cleaned. Thousands of mosquitoes bite us everywhere. We can’t sleep at night and I’m also worried for my children’s health," says Suguna G, mother of three.

Thankfully, except for a few cases of viral infections, no cases of mosquito borne epidemic diseases like malaria, dengue or chikunguniya have been reported in the area.

Although the open drains are covered with concrete slabs, there are many gaps and the residents use them to get rid of the water used for washing clothes and used vessels. Wasted food and soap more often than not mix with the sewage in the drain.

The sanitation problem does not end there. As the sewage drains into the Adyar River, foam formation leads to the growth of thick clusters of water hyacinths.

“The corporation comes to clear the water hyacinths. But, if they don’t, the mosquitoes grow in numbers,” says Sandhya D, a 52 year-old resident.

With public toilets almost a mile and a half away, the residents, especially children are more likely to defecate in the open, along the Adyar river bank, according to some of the child residents.

The river bank is already lined by piles of sand and stones from ruined buildings and garbage, which the residents have accumulated.

“It’s easier to dump the garbage here. There is only one public dumpster nearby on the main road. Take someone like me who is very old, how many times do you expect me to carry the garbage all the way there to dispose?” asks Mary Joseph, a 72 year-old widow, who lives alone.

The residents blame the corporation for the poor sanitary conditions and the mosquito problem in their area. “Who comes? No one comes. The corporation doesn’t care. Occasionally, they come to spray mosquito repellent fumes, which is of no use,” says Punitha R, an angry resident.

Watch Video: Who will solve their problems?

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Sukshma Ramakrishnan

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