Fish waste raises a stink in Uyyakondan canal

Civic activists charge that fish vendors dump rotting waste in the already polluted waterbody


Rotting fish waste are being dumped into the Uyyakondan canal flowing near Kasivilangi Market by vendors, much to the chagrin of civic activists. The waste from the market is thrown after being stored for days, some say.

The Uyyakondan canal built by Raja Raja Cholan and renovated by Kulothunga Cholan feeds over 36 tanks. The city stretch of the canal, which is about 10 km, has been subject to heavy pollution.

According to residents and civic activists, vendors have been dumping fish waste into the canal, polluting it further. โ€œWe have tried explaining to them why it is wrong, but they pay no heed,โ€ Manoj Dharmar of Citizens of Uyyakondan, a action group focussed on the conservation of the waterbody, said. Garbage is dumped into the canal in various parts, sewage water is released untreated and now even fish waste, he rued.

Retail vendors point their fingers at wholesale dealers claiming they throw fish into the canal after it starts rotting. โ€œWe do not have a choice but to sell all the fish we have, even at a loss. But these wholesale vendors store them in ice for weeks. Sometimes the fish goes bad and they discard them,โ€ V. Rajendran, a retail vendor said.

Mr. Rajendran said that the wholesale vendors called the shots in the market and would not sell fish to retail vendors the next time if they questioned their actions. โ€œOur livelihood depends on them, so we go about our work,โ€ he said, but felt that a deterrent effect could be created by officials of the civic body through inspection of the market.

โ€œOfficials can determine beforehand if fish is stored in containers for a lengthy duration and they can come out with options for safe disposal of the rotten stock. The onus is on the civic body to make sure that the waterbody is safeguarded from pollution,โ€ Mr. Rajendran said.

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