Insufficient solid and liquid waste management

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has concluded its proceedings on solid and liquid waste management in all states and Union Territories. The NGT emphasised the need for high-priority and strict monitoring of waste management. The bench stressed the importance of assigning a high priority to waste management, implementing strict monitoring, and establishing specialised monitoring cells at higher administrative levels to ensure accountability for deviations from timelines.
Despite the presence of statutory rules and policies, on-the-ground action for solid waste management has been inadequate. The accumulation of garbage, leading to the generation of methane and other harmful gases, posed health risks. The conclusion drawn was that enacting laws and court/tribunal directions alone were insufficient without good governance and the administration’s high priority for the subject. Involving people and changing mindsets were deemed crucial. Regarding liquid waste management, the discharge of sewage into drains, rivers, and water bodies caused water scarcity, environmental degradation, and health hazards.
The municipalities and local bodies in Jammu and Kashmir are also engaging in insufficient waste management practices, unprocessed sewage discharge, and the release of storm-water runoff containing pollutants like oil, chemicals, and litter into neighbouring water bodies. Furthermore, encroachments and illegal construction are obstructing the natural flow of water bodies, leading to further contamination. The absence of monitoring and enforcement measures, failure to enforce adequate waste management practises, and non-compliance with sewage treatment standards all contribute to the pollution of water bodies and groundwater.