Municipal authorities in north Kashmir’s Sopore have been dumping tons of garbage right next to a school, exposing its students and teachers to a constant stink and risk of contracting diseases.
Heaps of garbage can be seen piled up outside the middle school for boys and girls situated at Maharajpora near Jhelum.
Teachers say students keep falling ill regularly.
The school with a roll of 145 students was established in 1976 and it was upgraded to middle level in 2005.
Municipal workers regularly bring large quantities of garbage including polythene, plastic, chemicals and medical waste and pile it right outside the windows of the modest school building.
“There is a serious threat of disease spreading in the school, but the local administration is in no mood to take action,” said Ashiq Hussain, the school headmaster.
“We have told people from the municipal department and local residents who repeatedly dump this waste here that this is not a dumping site but our school.”
Hussain said classroom windows are kept shut during summers to prevent the stink blowing in.
The heaps of garbage scattered near the school attract many stray dogs threatening the safety of the students, particularly small children.
Another teacher said the garbage sometimes also blocks the drain flowing through the school compound, causing additional difficulties for the children.
“Even after complaining many times the authorities don’t do anything,” he added.
Mehrajudin Dar, a local resident who lives near the school, said the school was actually built near the garbage dumping site that existed before it came up.
Zonal education officer Sopore Ms. Fahmeeda said that she had already visited the school and brought this grave problem to the attention of higher authorities in the department.
The ADC Sopore said that he had taken note of the problem and would direct the municipality to clear the garbage around the school immediately.
The executive officer of the Sopore municipal council, Lateef Ahmad Mir rued the absence of a proper garbage dumping site in the town.
“What can I do and where do we dump the tones of garbage collected from the town daily?” Mir asked.