Victims of pollution

Published: Friday 30 June 2000

the health of hundreds of women who live off the Pulicat Lake, a bird sanctuary on Chennai's northern outskirts, have been severely affected due to pollution of the lake by industrial and domestic waste. These women earn a living by fishing in the lake and now they are suffering from severe skin diseases.

"The water really bites," says Suguna, a fisherwoman who resides in Karimanal, one of the many hamlets situated around the sprawling waterbody. She spends most of the day handpicking prawns from the lake. She, along with several other fisherwomen from the villages, now have ruddy eruptions all over their body.

Out of the 100,000 people living in the 44 villages around the Pulicat Lake, over 10,000 in 32 villages are dependent on the lake for their livelihood. With their main source of livelihood threatened, they may again have to shift out of the place.

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