Srinagar yet to find sustainable solution to garbage crisis

Srinagar yet to find sustainable solution to garbage crisis

SRINAGAR: Ten years after the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) shifted to covered waste dumping at Achan landfill site, the city is yet to find an efficient and sustainable solution to its growing garbage management cirisis.
Earlier garbage was dumped irregularly at the vast landfill site at Acchan, which is close to a water body.
The practise was discarded after specific cells for dumping the waste were built at the site.
So far three cells have been built, the third getting near to capacity, even as work on fourth one is yet to begin.
The garbage is collected by sanitation workers and transported to the dumping site, where all the waste is dumped into a cell. It is periodically covered by earth.
This process eats up sizeable resources without getting the desired result of disposing garbage sustainably.
According to an official of Jammu and Kashmir Economic Reconstruction Agency that has helped the SMC to shift from the unhygienic dumping method, three landfill sites have already been consumed, while the fourth one is about to be constructed.
He said the process has helped the city manage its waste for these years, and may do for coming years, but is not the way forward.
“The city’s garbage is growing. The land fill is not the ultimate solution, neither has one been found. The SMC needs to find a way,” he said.
In between, SMC had engaged a Kolkatta based expert, who promised to deal with waste efficiently, but the implementation turned into damp a squib.
Later, a waste segregator machine introduced to throw particular type of waste into the dumping site to increase its shelf life also failed to give desired results.
The SMC also hired a group of NGOs to inculcate waste segregation at source (household) level, but, with no significant results.
The shrinking space at Achan, where 500 metric tonnes of waste is dumped every day, remains a major challenge for Srinagar.
An environmentalist, who was engaged in the segregation project, told Kashmir Reader that waste management should address the entire lifecycle of waste—from generation to collection and transportation, and finally treatment and disposal. Wishing not to be named, the expert said that multiple solutions were devised, but due to non-application, the problem persists.
“We suggested for waste to be decomposed locally so that the so that load on Achan could lessen. Some sites were identified but either locals, or government, prevented it to happen,” the expert said.
“Also the process of teaching households remains. Despite teaching them the segregation, they continue repeating the old practices,” he added.
Another expert suggested that SMC needs to copy other innovative methods of dealing with waste.
“They need to incentivize the garbage collection so that people oblige to scientific methods, otherwise the problem will remain,” he said.