Concerned by the increasing accumulation of solid waste due to sudden tourist influx in high altitude meadows of Bhaderwah in Doda district, Bhaderwah Development Authority (BDA) Thursday constituted a task force to ensure cleanliness and implementation of plastic ban at the tourist destinations.
Pertinently, Greater Kashmir, in its July 10 edition, had carried a story highlighting the plight of the high altitude meadows due to accumulation of solid waste, especially that of Padri.
The Chief Executive Officer BDA, Dr Rajinder Prasad Khajuria, constituted a task force on Wednesday comprising of Dr Iftkhar Ahmed Malik, Gaja Singh Rana and Aanchal Singh. The team would be led by Executive Engineer Amar Jeet Singh.
Reports said that acting swiftly, the newly formed task force, accompanied by police, carried out surprise checks of the vendors at Padri on Thursday and also carried out a cleanliness drive at the high altitude meadow.
“After media reports about the accumulation of solid waste in high altitude meadows, reportedly due to the non implementation of plastic and disposables ban, we raided all the vendors at Padri meadow and gave them last warning to maintain cleanliness around their establishments. We also asked them to immediately stop use of disposables, failing which they will be fined a minimum of Rs 500, besides legal action,” Amar Jeet Singh said.
“Besides requesting tourists to use dustbins and educating them about the ill effects on the environment by leaving wrappers and disposables in the meadows, we also carried out a cleanliness drive and removed all the solid waste and other garbage from Padri meadow,” Singh said, hoping that visitors and locals will also cooperate to make the meadows a plastic-free zone.
The environmentalists and visitors, who raised their concern about the deteriorating high altitude meadows have suggested a foolproof strategy and comprehensive approach by all the stakeholders to save the ecology and environment.
“Enforcement of plastic ban in the high altitude meadows is a welcome step, but sustained efforts with professional and long lasting approach is required from all the stake holders to save our environment,” Dharam Kant Dogra, an environmentalist and social worker from Bhaderwah, said.
“When we reached here in the morning, we were swept off our feet by the breathtaking beauty and mesmerizing weather of Padri. But, we were a little disappointed to see wrappers, disposable plates and cups scattered all around. Only after a few hours of a cleanliness drive, it looks flawless,” Kanta Chowdhary, a tourist, said.