Garbage piles along Pulwama ring road raise health concerns

Garbage dumping yard on circular road Pulwama. -Excelsior/Younis Khaliq
Garbage dumping yard on circular road Pulwama. -Excelsior/Younis Khaliq

Suhail Bhat

SRINAGAR, Nov 3: The stinking waste mounds around the Pulwama ring road in South Kashmir have drawn the ire of locals, business owners, and students since it endangers their health and safety.
The ugly garbage mountain in the centre of the paddy fields close to the highway is an eyesore on this important road link and serves as an example of the district’s poor solid waste management practices.
The heap of trash is visible from the heavily used road, despite the authorities’ covering the yard with a tin sheet. The uncontrolled rubbish that is piling up on the road is especially dangerous to the neighboring Government Women’s Degree College since the foul odour it emits is extremely dangerous to the health of the students.
“A Government women’s college is located 10 to 15 metres from the garbage, and students there are suffering terribly. The issue will become a health risk for the entire population if prompt action is not taken to solve it,” Shabir Ahamd, a local teacher, said, adding that the dumping of rubbish has rendered a recently built commercial shopping mall useless.
He added that they have brought up the issue of this irrational open dumping of rubbish on agricultural land, but the authorities have paid no attention to the issue. “The ecology is endangered because all residential trash is thrown in a vacant field surrounded by orchards. To lessen the risk to human health, the government should put into practice a scientific recycling process for domestic waste,” he said.
Residents claim that stray animals like dogs and birds are drawn to the trash, where they can be seen hunting for food and harming nearby people, especially women’s degree college students. “The presence of dogs on the road makes the female students afraid for their safety. The authorities should at least consider these students,” another resident said.
The constant dumping of trash has also hurt business for the shop owners next to the highway. “No one is coming to my tea shop because of the bad stench, which deters people from coming here for tea. These days, I hardly earn anything. I request the administration to relocate this trash heap,” Bashir Ahamd, a tea stall owner, said.
Municipal officials, according to residents, have failed to remove the waste on a regular basis, causing serious problems for the entire population of these areas. The area has been transformed into a virtual garbage dump, with debris piles posing health risks.
“The foul odour emanating from the garbage is causing significant problems for people, especially the elderly, who are having difficulty breathing,” residents said.