The failure of District Administration to construct a garbage dumping facility in Sopore has evoked widespread resentment among the locals as heaps of domestic and market waste lies scattered across the town.
In the absence of solid waste management facility the garbage heaps are a common scene here and local residents allege that the Municipal Council is doing nothing to address the problem. The solid waste including plastic bags and polythene and hospital waste is being thrown on the roads and also into the drains leading to their blockade.
Mounds of garbage can be spotted on the roads including near bus stand, Chankhan, Degree College, Government Higher secondary, Shalford road, Sher Colony, main market and along Jhelum banks.
“It is difficult for us to walk due to the foul smell from the garbage dumps. Living at places surrounded with filth increase the health risk,’’ said a local resident.
Residents demand that the government should introduce a scientific mechanism to recycle the domestic waste . Apart from biodegradable waste from the households, a large quantity of non-biodegradable garbage including polythene and medical waste is dumped in the open increasing the risk of diseases for the people.
“With the population growth and increased commercial and industrial activity, the problem of waste disposal is becoming more intense. People should cooperate with the government and government should consult all the stake holders to find a viable solution to the problem,” said Junaid Shafeeq , a local resident.
“Tons of garbage is produced daily, which needs scientific treatment. Although authorities dump garbage at many places and then cover it with clay to avoid stench, but there is no permanent garbage disposal system in the town,” he added.
Another local Kamraan Ahmad from main market said despite repeated public outcry the Administration has failed to address the problem. Locals are peeved as the garbage piles have increased the population of stray dogs, which is posing a threat especially to students and elderly persons.
Official sources said that there is no land available where garbage from the town can be dumped. “Authorities are helpless as there is no land available for dumping of garbage,” an official in district administration said. Traders Federation Sopore has also expressed serious concern over the lack of a permanent garbage dumping mechanism in the town. In Sopore, there is no garbage collection, segregation and disposal system in place.
Executive Officer Municipal Committee Sopore, Ghulam Rasool Shah, said that the land which was identified for the dumping of garbage couldn’t be used earlier due to the stay by a court. “ The case has been vacated, we have issued the allotment order in favour of contractor.” However he added, “ we are facing resistance of people who aren’t allowing the department to carry out work at the site.’’
“Whatever is possible at our level we are doing that. Our job was to vacate the court stay and issue allotment to the contractor. But the people don’t cooperate. We don’t allow garbage to accumulate anywhere but due to non-availability of land we have to dump the garbage at some places,” added Shah.
He said whenever, “ we receive any complaint about piling of garbage anywhere we immediately direct employees to remove that.”
Deputy Commissioner Baramulla Peerzada Mushtaq Ahmad said that the efforts are on to address the problem. ” In view of the dispute over the land, we are looking for an alternate place for dumping garbage.”