City STINKS as SMC sits on GARBAGE mounds

Failure of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) to clear garbage from streets in past several days has pushed the summer capital on the verge of an environmental disaster.
City STINKS as SMC sits on GARBAGE mounds
Photo: Habib Naqash/GK

Failure of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) to clear garbage from streets in past several days has pushed the summer capital on the verge of an environmental disaster. 

Heaps of garbage is littered on across the city due to suspension of waste lifting following row between SMC and Achan residents over dumping of garbage there. 

On an average 400 metric tons of solid garbage is produced per day in Srinagar and subsequently dumped at Achan, the lone dumping place in the summer capital. In past four days, it is estimated that around 1600 metric tons of garbage is littered on city streets. 

In absence of cleaning, piles of garbage are littered on roads in various areas of the city including Parimpora, Bemina, Batamaloo, Lal Chowk, Karan Nagar, Hyderpora, Chanapora, Natipora, Hawal, Nowhatta, Rainawari, Hazratbal, Lal Bazar, Soura, Buchpura, Khanyar and Dalgate.  

Following incessant rains, the garbage including polythene, plastic bottles, leftover food and animal carcasses have been scattered on the roads. Pungent smell emanating from the garbage piles has made lives of people miserable. 

"We are unable to walk on streets due to unbearable stink emanating from the overflowing bins," said Mehraj Ahmad of Khanyar.

"The dumping sites here are overflowing with stinking garbage. Despite requests, SMC has failed to lift the garbage," said Ghulam Muhammad, a resident of Baba Demb. 

The residents of other areas also decried "non-serious" attitude of the SMC towards sanitation of the city.  

"The problem has assumed horrendous dimensions. SMC must sort out the issue at the earliest," said Fayaz Ahmed of Habba Kadal pointing towards heaps of garbage littered on roads there. 
"With increase in temperature, the garbage heaps can turn into a health hazard for people. Pathogens breeding on the decomposing garbage can be carriers for various diseases which will subsequently lead to outbreak of an epidemic," said Dr. Saleem Khan, HoD Social and Preventive Medicine at GMC.
Dr Shafia Wani, environmentalist and Assistant Professor IMPA, said mounds of garbage can pose threat to public health and environment.  
"It is the duty of SMC to ensure immediate collection of the garbage and scientifically dump it. Otherwise, the accumulated garbage on streets can become a major health hazard for people and affect  the ecological balance of our fragile environment," she said.  
The Achan residents and other nearby inhabitants have started an agitation demanding closure of the garbage dump for the city there.   
Police has been using force on inhabitants of Achan to ensure movement of garbage laden trucks, but have failed to control the situation.  
A couple of days ago, SMC had claimed that garbage dumping was resumed amid "tight security" for the dumpers. However, its drivers said they are at the receiving end. 
The drivers of SMC dumpers on Sunday also protested in Lal Chowk demanding security from the authorities to ensure the smooth dumping of city garbage at Achan here.
"The Achan inhabitants frequently attack us. We want security enroute the garbage dump," said Nisar Ahmad Khan, Yard Master of SMC.
The SMC dumping contingent contains more than 200 drivers with around 50 vehicles mainly garbage dumpers.
"On a routine, we load and unload garbage and make around three trips to Achan dumping site, but from past several days we are not able to dump the garbage in the area," Khan said.
The president of Municipal Transport Workers Union, Mehrajuddin Lone said also demanded security for SMC drivers to facilitate them to dump garbage at Achan. 
"From today there was no security. Our two drivers were seriously injured in assaults last night," Lone said.
SMC officials claim that a "land mafia" is behind the present crisis, however, the people living in the Achan vicinity are invoking an agreement between them and the civic body regarding closure of the dumping site. 
"We had an agreement with SMC in 2007 that they will shift us or close the garbage dumping, but nothing happened," said Nazir Ahmad of Achan.
However, SMC officials said "the trouble makers have been identified and action will be taken against them." 
"We have identified the miscreants with criminal backgrounds. They have in past also done such kinds of acts. There is a land mafia behind this crisis," Chief Sanitation Officer of SMC, Manzoor Ahmad Turray told Greater Kashmir.  
"The whole situation has been brought into the notice of police and we are asking for more reinforcement to secure the dumping site routes. There is an active support of land mafia in all this mess. They have spotted weak points where they target our drivers," Turray added.
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