Downstream Stories

India, A. Mukkulam, Virudhunagar


A. Mukkulam, Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu

Mukkulam is an agrarian village situated in Virudhunagar district, Tamil Nadu, India. Ramky Energy and Environment Limited, a biomedical waste management company has been operating a biomedical waste incinerator in the village since 2006. The villages started facing several health issues such as renal diseases, cancer, uterine disorders, and breathing problems, after the establishment of the incinerator. A health camp conducted by a hospital has also confirmed the abnormal instances of deaths due to kidney diseases linking it with the incinerator. Furthermore, the settling of fly ash on agricultural lands and water bodies nearby has forced an outward migration from the villages. The community’s health woes have further intensified with the opening of a new hazardous waste landfilling facility in 2016. 

Downstream Community Stories

Deposits from the biomedical waste incinerator can be seen on the ground near the facility.

Ash from the incinerator can be found in the community waterhole.

Resident of A. Mukkulam village

Anbhu explains that the residents did not understand the health impacts of the incinerator, when the biomedical waste management company came to the village in 2006. Severe health problems appeared in the community. Stop Ramky Group was formed. A damning report had the facility close, but it reopened after winning a court trial.

Residents rest in the shade in the center of town.

A hazardous waste landfill facility is installed not far from the biomedical waste incinerator.

Local resident

Selvam says that members of the community are relocating due to increasing health issues, linked to the landfill and the burning of toxic waste.

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Shot on location with the help of Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA) and Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG).

Going close to the biomedical waste incinerator company and shooting the video was pretty difficult, as the company had CCTV surveillance cameras around the compound and security guards. A closer access to shoot video near the Tamil Nadu Waste Ltd landfill was unattainable as the landfill was fenced off with barbed wire, shrubs and trees.

A group of villagers who lost their kith and kin allegedly because of the Ramky biomedical waste incinerator in A Mukkulam and the surrounding villages formed a coalition called “Stop Ramky”. The People’s Rights Protection Centre (PRPC) has aided the local community in legal battles and in gathering evidence of Ramky’s environmental violations with a motive to ultimately shut down the polluting incinerator. 

Visit their Facebook page here: 

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