SRINAGAR: A prominent tributary of River Jhelum flowing through several parts of Srinagar city is silently dying a death as the authorities look the other way when the residents continue to misuse it as a dumping site.
The tributary known and Chount Koal snakes through Barbar Shah and Gaw Kadal areas before flowing into River Jhelum. Hundreds of houses and makeshift sheds stand on both banks of the rivulet. The residents of the areas freely use the water body to dump the waste. They say that the areas have no dustbins installed by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) nor does the SMC staff arrive to clear the accumulated waste. “We have no option but to dump the waste in the Chunti koal,” a local resident said.
The local shopkeepers and vendors throw the waste material including polythene and used plastic bottles into the waterway leaving it to struggle for existence, locals alleged.
A local vendor admitted that the rivulet turns into a dustbin during the evening time. “As the dusk falls, everyone (vendors and shopkeepers) throw the residual matter into the river. We know we are doing wrong but we have no other option. See not a single dustbin is installed in the area,” he said.
“There is not a single dustbin installed in the area. Where shall we throw the waste material? We know we are doing an inhuman act but we cannot make untidy heaps of garbage on the roadside. Beside in this area there are many mechanical workshops throwing their waste material into the waterway,” Mukaram Latief, a 12th standard student.
Another resident, Ghulam Muhammad Sheikh said that he has been throwing waste-material into the river for past many years. “Nobody from the government ever visited this area and urged the residents to stop the practice,” he said.
“The vendors are mostly illiterate and don’t know the deadly causes of their activities. If the concerned authorities would have installed few dustbins near Gaw Kadal and other surroundings the vendors would have gradually learnt to use it,” Wasim Ahmad, a student of Environmental science told Kashmir Reader.
Chief Sanitation Officer, SMC Mohammad Akbar Sofi said, “There are dustbins in the locality. The people must use them and avoid dumping waste in water body. If there are issues regarding the installation of dustbins, the people must approach my office for redressal,” Sofi said.
The water body is maintained by lakes and waterways development authority (LAWDA).