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Implementation of anti-pollution laws a distant dream in JK

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Srinagar, Mar 25: While the government claims that protection of the environment was its top priority, the implementation of various anti-pollution laws is still a distant dream in Jammu and Kashmir.

Various anti-pollution laws have been framed in the state over the years like, Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act 1974, Air Prevention and Control of Pollution Act 1981, Environment Protection Act 1986, JK Non-Biodegradable Material Act 2007, JK Brick Kiln Act 2010. But official sources said there is rarely any implementation of these laws, Besides that disposal of waste has to be managed by Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules 2016, Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016, Hazardous and Other Waste Rules 2016, Construction and Demolition Waste Rules 2016 and E-Waste Management Rules 2016.

As per official details, in the year 2015-16 one workshop was organized on solid waste management for officials of the municipal bodies. According to these details, awareness programmes were conducted in 28-schools wherein around 6500 students were sensitized about pollution issues. Besides 111 awareness camps have been organized.

 

Officials within State Pollution Control Board told KNS that suspended particulate matter (SPM) and respiratory suspended particulate matter (RSPM) have witnessed a steep rise over the years due to increasing number of vehicles, crushers and factories.

An environmentalist told KNS that the authorities have failed to implement environment policy in the state. “We have all types of pollutions in the Valley but nobody is listening to reduce the pollution level here. J&K is the worst possible states in pollution level.”

He said government has been hiding the facts that pollution level was not increasing at an alarming rate in the state. “Our water bodies are extremely polluted. Harmful gases are emitting from factories and huge dust is emitting from roads. For the last three years, over three lakh vehicles have been added on the roads and they would have added to a greater extend to pollute the environment.”

A total of 355102 vehicles have been registered in the state during last three years, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16. Of which 143146 have been registered in Kashmir and 211956 in the Jammu region.

There has been around 120 percent increase in traffic for the last seven years. According to the official figures, the number of vehicles in J&K was 6,68, 445 in 2008. In 2009, it gained7.77 percent increase and reached upto 7,37,581.

While as in the year 2010, 2011, 2012; it increased traffic percentage of 10.34, 11.92 and 11.98 percent respectively and their number reached to 9,16,898 in the state. And now the number has reached to around 14 lakhs. Private cars and two wheelers account for 81 percent of vehicle population in JK.

136 pollution checking centres are registered by the Motor Vehicles Department out of which 81 are working. However, it has been seen that pollution under control certificate is just a formality for vehicles due to lack of reliable pollution checking centres.

The non-commercial vehicles are supposed to be phased out after 15 years of service while as the commercial vehicles are condemned after 25 years by disallowing certificate of roadworthiness. “Despite creating immense pollution, non-commercial vehicles are not being condemned,” a senior official of Transport department said. He said just 7,776 commercial vehicles have been phased out from 1973 to March, 2016.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has banned all 10-year-old diesel vehicles from plying on Delhi roads. The Supreme Court has also supported the NGT’s decision of banning all 10-year old diesel vehicles. However, officials said the government has no such plan to implement such decisions in the state. (KNS)

 


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Kashmir

Scientific waste disposal continues to remain a challenge in Kashmir

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Jan 18: The authorities have not been able to strike a balance between the increased tourist inflow and the scientific disposal of garbage, official documents reveal.
“Being a popular tourist destination, issues pertaining to solid waste are on the rise in the state and need to be addressed immediately,” reveals the Housing and Urban Development (H&UD) department’s 2018 draft action plan for solid-waste management.
It says that sold waste generation has witnessed an increase of over 8 percent in a decade.
“The Central Pollution Control Board report estimates that a total of 400 metric tons of waste is generated per day in Srinagar, 62 percent of this waste is organic in nature while the remaining is inorganic including 7 percent of plastic waste,” reads the document.
An official of H&UD department said that given the rapid urbanization and growing population, this sector (waste management) needs immediate attention.
“The valley’s non-dumping options to manage waste have also shrunk drastically. Burning waste no longer seems viable because of environmental concerns and poor segregation of waste. Compost plants are not doing well because manure doesn’t sell, and again becomes garbage,” the official said.
With population of 12.36 lakh, spread over an area of 294 sq km on both sides of Jhelum, not even a single residential area or commercial establishment in Srinagar has the facility of segregation of solid waste, and much of the waste is dumped into water bodies including Dal Lake.
“Civic bodies blame residents for not segregating the waste but what’s the point when everything will eventually be mixed-up? Segregation by residents will only work when the municipal bodies have complete door-to-door waste collection system and trash pickups have separate containers for dry and wet waste,” the official added.
He said for segregation, greater civic awareness was a must.
“But municipalities must also set up the infrastructure and notify their solid-waste management policy under the 2016 rules. So far, it has remained confined to papers only,” the official said.
A recent report by NITI Aayog ‘Report of Working Group II, Sustainable Tourism in the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR)’ too revealed that waste management was a huge challenge in Jammu and Kashmir and will become much more threatening as the number of tourists grows.
J&K fares poorly, with 0.14 gm per capita per day solid waste generation, the second worst in IHR region after Mizoram.
The state has faced repeated censuring by National Green Tribunal.
J&K has witnessed a mushroom growth of tourism infrastructure around water bodies, with little or no concern for the former’s impact over the latter.

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90s massacres: Joint Hurriyat calls for shutdown on Jan 21, 25, and 27 in Kashmir parts

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Srinagar, Jan 18: The Joint Hurriyat Leadership on Friday called for shutdown in Gaw Kadal, Handwara and Kupwara to mark the anniversaries of three massacres that took place in January 1990 in these areas.
The Joint Hurriyat comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik, in a statement asked people to observe complete shutdown in Gawkadal, Basant Bagh, Chota Bazar, Budshah Chowk and adjacent areas on January 21 (Monday).
It also asked people to observe shutdown in Handwara and Kupwara areas on January 25 and 27 respectively on Handwara and Kupwara massacres anniversaries.
“Carnage at Gaw Kadal, Handwara and Kupwara remind us of Indian brutal occupation and oppression. Illegal Military occupation followed by such massacres symbolizes callousness under the garb of so-called democracy. The nation of Kashmir is indebted to martyrs who laid down their lives for freedom and resistance leadership pledges to continue this struggle till the achievement of the sacred goal,” the statement said.
Joint Hurriyat said Kashmir is “indebted to martyrs who laid down their lives for freedom and resistance leadership pledges to continue this struggle till the achievement of the sacred goal.”
“Days like 21st, 25th and 27th January 1990 remind us of the sacrifices rendered by our dear ones. These are the days for reiteration of our commitment towards the sacred mission and today while recalling these great sacrifices we reiterate our pledge to take forward the task of martyrs till the achievement of the desired goal,” they said.

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Kashmir

Fruit growers, dealers association meets Governor

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Jammu, Jan 18: A delegation of The Kashmir Fruit Growers and Dealers Association, from Sopore led by its president F A Malik, met Governor Satya Pal Malik at the Raj Bhavan here on Friday.
The members of the delegation requested that the KCC loans of farmers be waived off on account of damage to the horticulture crops due to unexpected hailstorm.
They also requested that unhindered movement of fresh fruits outside the State be allowed.
“They also requested sanctioning of adequate funds for development of Fruit Mandi at Sopore; installation of High Mast Lights at Fruit Mandi Sopore and enroute from Sopore Bye-Pass to the Fruit Mandi; availability of quality pesticides and Tree Spray oils at genuine rates; construction of a fly over from Chakrodaykhan up to Hakim Sonaullah Hospital and Fruit Mandi; sanctioned railway track from Baramulla to Kupwara be routed from Amargarh Sopore station with a station in vicinity of Fruit Mandi; construction of a truck terminal at Tulball, Sopore and revival of juice plant at Doabgah,” a Raj Bhavan Spokesperson said.
Governor assured due consideration of their demands.

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