Chennai Slum’s
Sanitation Woes

Over a million slum dwellers don’t have access to basic sanitation in Chennai - home town of this video’s correspondent. Nearly 25% of Chennai’s 7 million citizens live in the city’s various slums. But when it comes to basic civic facilities like sanitation, the administration always tends to forget them.

In this video, Mani shows us an example in Kotturpuram slum where ten thousand people live in extremely poor sanitary condition. Every lane in the slum is covered with rotting garbage and sewage flowing out of homes and clogged drains. No municipality worker comes here to clean the roads or clear the drains.

This is because, Mani says, slums are never considered as important as other areas of the city by the administration. So services such as sanitation and garbage collection hardly reach the slum dwellers.

Though residents of Kotturpuram slum have made repeated complaints to the municipality over the unclean roads, nothing has been done. Now, if we are to think that every slum more or less share the same set of problems such as sewage, unclean water and road, we get a picture where the city administration is practically ignoring the need demand of nearly one and half million people!

Waste management and sewage treatment have been Tamil Nadu’s worst areas of performance. There are two rivers that flow through Chennai city – Cooum and Adyar. Both of them are heavily polluted. The Cooum in particular has been severely polluted with effluents from some business establishments, and plastic bags and sewage from slums on its banks.

Mani who lives quite close to Kotturpuram says that currently the government of Tamil Nadu working on a plan that aims to make Chennai ‘slum-free” by 2013.

As a part of the plan, Tamil Nadu government has started constructing several residential complexes across Chennai to rehabilitate slum-dwellers. But Mani says, besides providing shelter, the government also needs to provide other civic facilities to the slum dwellers. Otherwise they will continue to live in the unhealthy condition that they do now.

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