Receding flood waters leave a carpet of plastic waste in Jhelum

Foul smell and insects force nearby residents to lock themselves indoors; SMC says IFC 'has the equipment to deal with the issue'
The recent flooding in Jhelum has sent carpets of waste – ranging from plastic to animal carcasses – down river in Qamarwari area of Srinagar during the past week, forcing the residents to lock themselves indoors in view of pervasive stench.
The recent flooding in Jhelum has sent carpets of waste – ranging from plastic to animal carcasses – down river in Qamarwari area of Srinagar during the past week, forcing the residents to lock themselves indoors in view of pervasive stench.Haseeb Ibn Hameed for Greater Kashmir

Srinagar, June 30: The recent flooding in Jhelum has sent carpets of waste – ranging from plastic to animal carcasses – down river in a locality in Srinagar during the past week, forcing the residents to lock themselves indoors in view of pervasive stench.

The garbage of all sorts, including animal carcasses and plastic bottles, got stuck at the shuttering framework of the under-construction bridge across the Jhelum at Qamarwari, which is awaiting completion for over a decade.

With the increase in temperature, the stink emanating from the waste, especially the animal carcasses, has turned the locality into a virtual gas chamber making it difficult to breathe. The unpleasant air has spread around 500 meters in the area affecting hundreds of people living in the vicinity.

“The bad smell necessitates closing the doors and windows of our homes. We prefer to bear the scorching temperatures than the foul smell,” Parvaiz Ahmed, a local, told Greater Kashmir.

He said the garbage had also given rise to insects and flies making it all the more difficult to keep the windows open.

Another local, Ishfaq said that with each minute the river brings more refuse with it and adds to the already piled waste here with the river surface turning into a garbage layer. A Greater Kashmir reporter, who had gone to the spot on Wednesday, had a close shave after he mistook the garbage piled on the river banks for a walkable surface.

Ishfaq said the stink from the garbage had made it impossible for them to move around. "We can’t even pray inside the nearby Masjid Abu Turaab close to the river bank as the foul smell is much stronger there,” he said.

Mohammad Aslam, who owns a shop near the bridge, said that he used to close his shop at 9:00pm, however, the foul smell and a swarm of insects is forcing him to close an hour early.

“Even the customers don’t like to stand for more than a minute here, it’s unbearable and hence our business has been affected,” Aslam said.

When contacted, Commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Athar Aamir said he will speak to the Irrigation and Flood Control Department "because they have the necessary equipment to deal with the issue".

“We will get it done as soon as possible,” Aamir said.

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