Sunday, June 05, 2022

Smoke from burning waste near Coimbatore airport a threat to flight safety

The dumping and burning of garbage on a landfill at Chinniyampalayam off Avinashi Road has caused concern among residents as well as the Coimbatore International Airport. Residents in the area complain that noxious smoke of burnt plastic and other waste materials is posing a risk to their health. They say that garbage is burnt day and night.
The smoke and the dumping of waste is also a threat to aircraft as the dumping site is situated exactly on the landing/take off path of the runway, hardly three km away from the threshold. The waste attracts large birds, including kites which can be a threat to aircraft.
“The burning is happening most of the days, especially at night with the knowledge of the panchayat officials,” alleged a woman who resides near the dumping site. Another resident alleged that the garbage was being burnt as the dumping site was inadequate for the waste being generated in the panchayat. “Venkitapuram residents are suffering from the smoke most,” he said. 

Devaraj, president of Chinniyampalayam panchayat, claimed that it was not the panchayat workers who burn the waste. “People who collect trash from the landfill burns it for purposes such as removing insulation of copper wires. We have arranged pipelines to extinguish fire,” he claimed. Meanwhile, he admitted that the local body did not have a proper dumping site to manage waste and the existing dumping site on the side of Avinashi Road, near a waterbody, became a landfill as people dumped waste there over the years.  

“It is a very small panchayat with no other place to dump waste. The panchayat administration is also very much worried about how the garbage could be handled and processed,” he said and added that the Airport Authority of India (AAI) officials had already discussed the issue with the panchayat. Sources with the Airfield Environment Management Committee (AEMC) said that the dangers of dumping waste and burning them was discussed at its meetings and officials of the AAI from Coimbatore airport had visited the place in the past. Coimbatore District Collector had instructed officials of the departments concerned to address the issue, they said. When asked about the issue, Coimbatore airport director S. Senthil Valavan said that dumping of waste and burning was discussed at the last meeting of AEMC. Collector G.S. Sameeran said that necessary action would be taken on the matter.

05/06/22 Wilson Thomas/The Hindu

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