Municipal waste continues to plague Kashmir, Govt prepares Rs 200-crore action plan

Suhail Bhat

Srinagar, Mar 26: The issue of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in Kashmir remained unaddressed, as the Government has failed to establish even a single waste treatment plant in any of the Urban Local Bodies, and improper rubbish dumping is endangering the Valley’s natural beauty.
Even though towns and cities are required to build a system for scientific rubbish disposal, none has been able to do so in the Valley so far. Waste mishandling has caused serious environmental problems, highlighting the need for an immediate and comprehensive waste management policy for this environmentally sensitive region.
The lack of a proper trash disposal mechanism has led to undesirable practices such as dumping waste in freshwater bodies, agricultural lands, woods, and roadside areas, as well as waste burning, which pollutes the environment.
As a result of poor waste management, the structure and quality parameters of water bodies have been altered. “Waste collected from city and major towns is dumped in the surroundings of water bodies, open fields, or even straight in freshwater bodies. This is detrimental to the environment and should be stopped immediately,” an expert said.
The administration is taking the challenge seriously and has prepared a Rs 200-crore action plan for solid waste management. “The waste treatment facilities will be set up at around 40 ULBs. So far, we have prepared roughly 27-Detailed Project Reports (DPRs), and work is underway on two of them in Ganderbal and Chadoora,” Mathoora Masoom, Director of Urban Local Bodies, told Excelsior adding that another 25 DPRs are currently being revived by our project management team.
The team ensures that the projects are built according to the specifications. “The major reason for these projects is to safeguard our environment, and the project team ensures that it does not breach any environmental standards,” she explained.
She said that, in addition to taking steps toward effective waste disposal, they have made progress in waste collection and transportation. “We have achieved almost 100 percent -door-door collection,” she said, adding that they have also purchased vehicles worth Rs 35 crore for waste management. “We believe that we will have a robust Solid Waste Management system in place in the shortest period of time,” she said.