Shopian markets becoming hub of plastic pollution

Shopian markets becoming hub of plastic pollution

SHOPIAN: Like other rural areas in valley, several markets of Shopian that do not fall under municipal jurisdiction are becoming hubs of pollution, with plastic trash being the main culprit.
In several villages shopkeepers and residents burn the polythene trash infusing toxic gases into the environment.
In major markets like Zainpora, Imamsahib, Chitragam, Keller, Turkwangam, Harmain and Keegam there is no one to take care of cleanliness and many people resort to burning of polythene, or littering the soil.
Burning of plastics, according to experts, releases toxic gases like dioxins, furans, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls and hazardous halogens into the environment.
Dr Mumtaz Ahmad, a soil scientist, told Kashmir Reader that the polythene litter turns the soil “dead”.
“It doesn’t get decomposed and remains in soil for ever. It heavily disturbs the microbes and affects their habitat,” Mumtaz said adding that polythene use should be avoided to maximum.
Polythene burning, he said, leads to diseases in humans, besides damaging the environment with toxic gases. It also leads to acid rains.
The government has in the past conducted several awareness programmes and installed hoardings and graffitis around schools and markets but with little impact.
“There are countries which have no government run municipality and people there take care of cleanliness by themselves but unfortunately Kashmir, where it was like heaven, has been polluted heavily by people and government on the other hand also acted as mute spectator,” Parvaiz Ahmad Bhat, an environmentalist said, adding that instead of graffitis government should involves schools, colleges and even mosques to make people about aware about environmental issues.
Pollution has reached the extent where polythene is seen littered in almost every feet of land in village orchards and around houses.
Suhail Ahmad, an engineering student, said that government has long ago banned the entry of polythene in valley “but God knows how it is being smuggled in”.
“Truly, we are at the worst stage of environmental pollution, if not taken care of at the earliest, the day is not far when we will face acid rains, a decline in horticulture produce and rampant diseases,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner Shopian, Owais Ahmad, when asked if the administration has plans to start awareness drives and programmes to encourage people to take care of cleanliness by themselves, he said, “It is a good suggestion and administration is keen to have such programmes and activities to save environment,” he said.
Ahmad added that the administration will launch programmes at block levels and involve many institutions.
A doctor based in Shopian said that burning of polythene and plastic will add to carcinogenic effects besides many other diseases. “Dioxins and styrene gases are some of the most dangerous chemicals leading to lung cancer among humans,” he said.