SRINAGAR: Kashmir is heading towards a serious solid waste disaster as it does not have any efficient system and machinery in place that could tackle the growing waste generated in the valley. All there is are actions plans, with a hundred problems in implementation.
According to government figures, waste generation in Kashmir Valley grows at more than 2 percent rate annually. Out of 3,134 tons of waste produced a day, only 74 percent is collected, of which just 320 is treated, 375 is land filled, and the rest left as it is.
“Solid waste management in Kashmir Valley is like holding sand in hand,” said a top government official dealing with solid waste management. “The truth is that management of solid waste is the toughest challenge for governments across India.”
This inefficiency becomes evident from the fact that municipal bodies spend between 2-25 percent of their budget on solid waste management. There are a huge battery of rag pickers, handcarts, garbage sites, and bins. Srinagar, which has one of the better systems of solid waste management in the country, is also not able to deal with the problem effectively.
Government figures reveal that Srinagar has 575 garbage collection centres, 100 dumpers, 500 hand carts, and more than 30,000 coloured bins. In the past nine years, two landfill sites have been consumed, filling up with only half the waste they were supposed to accommodate. This sort of crisis has led to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) deciding to not releasing more funds for waste management schemes.
“The problem is that solid waste is dumped directly at the Achan land fill site in Srinagar. The SMC cannot do segregation at source. It has engaged six NGOs on a pilot basis to do the segregation, but work is not going at the pace that is required. The areas where this project has been introduced are yet to acquire the habit of segregating waste. The rest of the areas still dispose waste in the old way,” said the official.