State pollution board fails to implement solid waste management rules

State pollution board fails to implement solid waste management rules
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‘No case has been filed against violators’

Irshad Khan

Srinagar: The J&K State Pollution Control Board (JKPCB), the enforcement agency for Solid Waste Management rules in the state has admittedly failed to implement relevant rules through local municipal bodies.
Under the SWM Rules-2016, which superseded the earlier rules of 2002, the state pollution control boards have been tasked to enforce the rules through local bodies and even “review implementation of these rules at least twice a year…”
‘Solid waste’ as per the rules includes: solid or semi-solid domestic waste, sanitary waste, commercial waste, institutional waste, silt removed or collected from the surface drains, horticulture, agriculture and dairy waste, treated bio-medical waste excluding industrial waste, bio-medical waste and other waste generated in the area under the local authorities.
While municipalities and urban local bodies have been asked to manage solid waste through proper segregation and door-to-door collection of garbage, the JKPCB has been told to enforce the rules in the state under the SWM Rules- 2016.
However, the JKPCB especially in Kashmir valley has failed to carry out substantial work towards implementation of SWM Rules-2016, which gets revealed in a reply to a RTI application in November last year.
Acknowledging that it was meant “To ensure enforcement” of the SWM rules through local bodies, the JKPCB in reply to the RTI application has however admitted its own incompetence regarding the enforcement of rules.
Asked what kind of work the SPCB had done towards implementation of SWM Rules-2016 during 2017, the board has said that it had conducted “two large-scale and one small level workshop for students and gardeners”.
The SPCB has not even revealed where the workshops were conducted.
Significantly, the SPCB has confirmed in its reply that “no prosecution/case has been filed so far” against different organisations in the state, which were found violating SWM rules.
Reflecting the below-par work by the SPCB regarding enforcement of rules, the board has said in reply to the application that it had held “awareness talk with sarpanchs and panchs at BDO level” and published “two reports and one pamphlet”.
“One brochure” in “local language for gardeners” is also part of ‘enforcement’ of SWM rules as per the SPCB.
The board has even boasted of “compost made at Yatri Niwas, Bhagwati Nagar during Amarnath Yatra” in its reply to the application.
The SPCB, the reply to the RTI application reads “Provided live demos on composting in vegetable and fruit mandi, Narwal”.
In Srinagar, the SPCB has cited a meager 2 letters written to the SMC Srinagar over unscientific functioning and malfunctioning of municipal solid waste dumping site at Achan.
Founder J&K RTI Movement, Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat who had filed the RTI application said that “even low-profile NGOs are doing the kind of work, which the SPCB has shown”.
“What is the SPCB there for? The municipal committees in towns in the valley dump the solid waste in open,” Bhat alleged.
Regional Director Kashmir, Dr Syed Nadeem Hussain told Kashmir Reader that dearth of waste dumping sites are turning out to be a challenge for an effective enforcement of SWM Rules-2016.
“We could even prosecute the violators, but even they get away with it citing the lack of dumping cites,” Hussain said.
Even as they had identified several dumping sites in the valley, Hussain said that the proposal was facing the “issue of land acquisition”.
“When there are no dumping sites, what can we do?” he asked.