NGT forms Panel on Achan garbage dumping site

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, May 21: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has constituted a high-level committee to ascertain the ground facts regarding the hazardous effects of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation’s (SMC) Achan garbage dumping site and the extent of the pollution caused.
The directions-under which the committee has to file a report within eight weeks-came after social activist Raja Muzaffar Bhat filed an application noting violations of regulations and non-compliance with environmental norms.

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“In this Original Application, the applicant has raised the grievance against the illegal and unscientific dumping of municipal solid, biomedical, and plastic waste at the Achan landfill in District Srinagar,” stated NGT’s Principal Bench, comprising Justice Prakash Shrivastava, Chairperson, and Dr. Afroz Ahmad, expert member.
To ascertain the correct factual situation, the NGT has directed the constitution of a Joint Committee comprising representatives from the Member Secretary CPCB, the National Wetland Committee, MoEF & CC, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, and Member Secretary J&K PCC, with the Deputy Commissioner Srinagar acting as the nodal agency.
As per the disclosure made, the NGT stated, the said landfill site is the only dumping ground in the city of Srinagar and the adjoining area.
“It has been pointed out by the counsel for the applicant that a canal passes by the side of the landfill and joins the Achan lake, which ultimately forms part of the Dal Lake.”
It was stated that the applicant’s stand is that almost 450 metric tons of waste are dumped every day at the landfill site, which is spread over an area of 75 acres and located in close proximity to human habitation.
“The grievance of the applicant is that the dumping of waste at the landfill site is done in violation of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, the timeline set in the Action Plan for Municipal Solid Waste Management, Jammu and Kashmir, 2018, Biomedical Waste Management Rules, 2016, and Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016,” the NGT said.
The Bench stated that the application raises “substantial issues relating to compliance with environmental norms and the implementation of the provisions of scheduled enactments.”
“Issue notice to the respondents. The applicant is directed to serve the respondents and file an affidavit of service at least one week before the next date of hearing.”
While the next date of hearing is August 30, 2024, the Joint Committee has been ordered to visit the site, ascertain the correct ground position and the extent of pollution caused by the illegal dumping at the landfill site in question, consequential health hazards created by it, “and also suggest remedial measures including setting up waste processing facilities to reduce the landfill to zero. The report is to be submitted to the Tribunal within eight weeks.”