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Scientific waste disposal continues to remain a challenge in Kashmir

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.