Tons of garbage is dumped in a green belt area in this central Kashmir town, leading to resentment from locals.
The forest area which has been tuned into the dumping site is located enroute famous tourist destination Yusmarg.
Locals accused the local Municipal Committee and Yusmarg Development Authority for turning a blind eye to the vandalisation of the environment.
The dumping site near Almakote has a lush green meadow in the background while a stream run through a gorge which irrigates agriculture fields downstream. Locals said dumping of the garbage not only pollutes the stream but also makes it unfit for irrigation purpose.
They said the dumping site has been chosen close to a water filtration plant, which poses a risk to local population.
Muzaffar Ahmad Shah, who lives close to the dumping site, said the stink emanating from the garbage was unbearable.
He said packs of stray dogs could be seen roaming in the vicinity of the dumping site, which pose a threat to the commuters as well as residents living in the area.
“This was a serene place to live a few years ago. Today, this whole area has been turned into one big dumping site,” said Ahmad, adding the government has failed to take note of the environmental degradation.
Another local, Farooq Ahmad said the dumping of the garbage was a threat to locals amid the COVID19 pandemic.
Executive Officer, Municipal Corporation Charar-I-Sharief, Nazir Ahmad Dar there was no dumping site in the town.
“We are in the process of identifying one near Tilsara area. Till then we have no choice but to dump the garbage there,” he said.
Tehsildar Charar-i-Sharief, Mubashir Muhammad said the municipal authorities have no other site for dumping the waste.
“There is a death of land in the town for creation of a proper dumping site,” he said, adding the administration will soon expedite the process for identifying a proper dumping site.