J&K High Court will hear on July 8 a public interest litigation petition seeking directions for removing garbage "being dumped" on the banks of Asia's largest water body, the Wular Lake in north Kashmir.
Central Auqaf Committee Tarzoo-Dharnambal, an amalgam of eight Auqaf Committees of the area, through Advocate Shafqat Nazir has filed the PIL seeking a slew of directions to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the J&K government.
The plea prays for a direction to the Municipal Council Sopore to stop dumping of municipal solid waste on the ramsar wetland site situated at Dharnambal-Ningli Tarzoo in Sopore which falls within the delineated periphery pillars of the Wular Conservation and Management Authority (WUCMA) and also within the limits of Hygam-Ningli-Tarzoo Tourism Development Authority.
It also seeks a direction to Municipal Council to immediately remove the garbage "illegally dumped" on the spot.
The PIL urges for developing the area in planned manner given its huge tourism potential while taking care of the environmental sensitivities. It also prays that a place be identified and subsequently developed in terms of Solid Waste Management Rules for dumping of municipal waste away from the residential and environmentally sensitivity areas.
The petition alleges that the Municipal Council Sopore since March this year has started dumping solid waste on the boundary of the Wular Lake against the Solid Waste Management Rules.
The whole place has been converted into a stinky swamp, it reads. "The water from the Wular Lake as also the rainwater wash away the garbage and filth into the Wular Lake and the Jhelum and also into the premises of tourist huts".
"The area which was earlier identified as the only recreational park was surprisingly converted into a dumping site without following the rules or taking any permission or NOC from the Pollution Control Board or WUCMA.
"Since the land in question belongs to the Forest Department, and comes under the immediate control and management of WUCMA and HNTDA, therefore it was obligatory for the respondent Municipal Council to take prior permission from the said authorities before dumping the municipal waste on the banks of Wular Lake.
"The area is environmentally sensitive and in terms of Wetland Conservation and Management Rules, 2017, no such activity can be undertaken by the respondents in the area under any circumstances."
The High Court has listed the PIL for consideration on July 8.