Disposal and treatment of the waste generated in developing cities like ours is one of the major challenges for the government. The challenge becomes all the more testing in our state given the poor infrastructure available for management of the waste.
Given the normal circumstances, all the cities and towns have authorized dumping sites of garbage and refuse which is treated along scientific methods in a way that these cannot cause any pollution to the environment.
The sites for dumping are selected after great care and obviously away from the city peripheries so as the air and water pollution is avoided. The normal practice is that the permission of the Environmental Department is necessary for making a selection of a dumping site.
In Kashmir the dumping site has been identified at Achan, an area falling on the outskirts of Srinagar City. However, the site has become so miserable that a waste management expert has predicted that Achan dumping site could explode anytime.
S R Maley, a well-known scientist made this assertion after extensive research of the Achan site. He has been visiting Jammu and Kashmir for years and has also helped in decomposing the waste at Pahalgam dumping site.
Notably, not only the people living in the vicinity of the dumping site are facing an imminent threat, the mismanagement of waste is having an adverse effect on the environment.
Spread over 600 kanal, the garbage dumping site at Achan remains the focal point of the agitation against the Srinagar Municipal Corporation. The stink emanating from the dumping ground gives people living in adjacent areas sleepless nights.
Interestingly, the site was acquired in the year 2000 to establish a processing plant. But SMC dumped the waste in cells without giving much thought to it.
The authorities dumped the waste and later filled the compartments with soil. Overtime the waste, which contains biodegradable content fermented and dangerous gases were formed in them. Leachate (liquid secreted by fermented waste) and methane gas bubbles are visible everywhere in and around the site.
According NGT guidelines, waste can be only filled in such cells after proper treatment like segregation and fermentation, but authorities are blindly burying this waste.
The situation is no better in Jammu, Jammu Municipal Corporation and Sewage Treatment Plants of Urban Environment Engineering Department near River Tawi don’t have mandatory clearance from Jammu and Kashmir Pollution Control Board and both these agencies have been openly flouting relevant provisions of environmental laws. Thus, if the Government agencies itself are flouting the pollution control laws, what can be the fate of that town or city. The sites under reference are close to the bank of river Tawi.
Dumping site by the river bank demonstrates our moral bankruptcy. According to expert opinion when garbage and litter remain dumped at some place for a long time, the underground water is polluted. And when the site is close to the river bank, the river water gets polluted in a very short time.
Therefore, the need of the hour is to initiate a change in our mindset and initiate a process of managing the waste on scientific lines. The process on suggested recycling, segregation and compose formation should be initiated by the authorities immediately. The sooner we do it, the better it will be for our environs and the general populace.