Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Saturday, April 13, 2024

Garbage, stench greet visitors to Marudhamalai

 COIMBATORE: While the Swach Bharat campaign has captured the imagination of the country, at Marudhamalai, which houses the famous Arulmigu Dhandayuthapani temple and attracts hundreds of devotees every day, seems to have been completely overlooked. 

The pathway with 900 steps that leads to temple atop a picturesque hillock has now become an eyesore as heaps of garbage line the path.

Temple authorities blame the public for the mess, but devotees point out that not a single dustbin has been placed along the entire path. Envionmentalists, who have taken up the task of cleaning the stairway twice a year, said they collect about 600kg of waste, primarily plastic, every time they embark on the exercise.


Plastic waste is posing a threat to the ecology of the forests on the hillock.


Sources said an average of 4,000 people visit the temple everyday. Small shops and vendors sell their wares in plastic packaging which is discarded by the wayside.

"People fling waste along the path leading to the temple. Where do you expect them to drop waste when there are no dustbins?'' asked a woman selling mangoes near the temple.

Another devotee said that a team from an NGO cleans the steps every week, but does not collect and dispose the garbage. "The waste gets accumulated on the side of the steps," he said.

There were notice boards put up stating to keep the environment clean, but the instruction is not followed.


Temple authorities blamed the public. "There is a lack of social responsibility among the public. There are notice boards informing them not to litter the areas surrounding the temple, but they fail to cooperate," said an officer. "We will explore the possibility of placing dustbins," said temple executive officer Udayakumar.

Environmentalist M Yoganathan, who mobilizes volunteers to clean Marudhamalai temple twice a year, said more than 600kg of plastic and liquor bottles are collected each time.

"Cleanliness cannot be ensured unless officials from the temple and forest departments take necessary steps to keep the surroundings clean," he said.

"With many animals living in the adjoining Marudhamalai forest, it is important to keep the area clean," he said.