A 44-year-old manual scavenger was asphyxiated by toxic fumes when he entered into a septic tank of a retired police sub-inspector at Puzhal in Chennai on Tuesday, according to The New Indian Express.
Eye-witnesses told TNIE that P Babu entered a septic tank around 12:30pm which had one-and-a-half-feet wide opening. Babuâ€™s friend Anna Durai said that they used to take turns and enter the tanks but on Wednesday, the tank was small in size and Babu who was lean had to enter the tank.
Usually, when the sludge is pumped out, another person will go inside the tank to check the solid waste has been pumped out as well. When the fellow co-workers realized that Babu had lost consciousness due to the toxic fumes in the tank, they started pouring water into the tank to reduce the spread of the toxic fumes. The workers were not able to pull out Babu and the fire department had to pull out his body from the tank.
P Babu is the only breadwinner of the family and had four children to take care of. The workers earn an average of Rs. 700-800 for a dayâ€™s work. His eldest son is studying B.Com, his daughter is in Class XII and his other two sons are studying in school. The Puzhal police have filed a case of unnatural death, as reported by The New Indian Express.
However, this is the third death due to manual scavenging in Chennai in the last four months.