SRINAGAR, Sep 3: Putting his weight firmly behind framing policies that promote cleaner and healthier environment, Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, today called for pressing the accelerator on adopting best practices in tackling the ever-growing problem of solid waste management.
He tasked the Commissioner/Secretary, Housing & Urban Development (H&UD), to show results on ground by examining the proposals and submitting recommendations within a month’s time so that the best workable model is sifted, which fits within the state’s available budgetary resources. “We need to render better services in solid waste management, which is one of the basic essential services provided to the people to keep our environs clean,” he emphasized.
The Chief Minister was speaking while chairing a presentation on solid waste management, made by a Slovenian firm – IME-Insol, which has executed several EU (European Union) projects in Austria, Germany, Croatia and Italy.
Placing high priority on improving J&K’s rank on cleanliness indices, Mufti Sayeed said the Government has shown abundant resolve to replace the unscientific and outdated systems with a technology that can handle segregated and un-segregated solid waste better, without causing harm to environment and ecology. “Our state needs a credible breakthrough in waste management by using best-available technology that scientifically disposes of garbage,” said the Chief Minister.
To begin with, he said the two capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu and health resorts of Gulmarg, Patnitop and Pahalgam will start using the selected technology in solid waste management. “Once implemented successfully, the models will be replicated in other parts of the state in a phased manner,” he revealed.
Emphasizing upon strengthening municipal laws governing urban local bodies to effectively deal with growing problem of waste disposal, the Chief Minister said due to rapid and haphazard urbanization, the state needs to thwart the potential threat which is staring our environment in the face. He said a beginning has to be made in adopting models that would hardly have any impact on existing human habitations. “Futuristically, we can also think of trading in waste for generating income on investment,” he said, while referring to the high-cost models that not only segregate and recycle waste, but also produce high-on-demand biogas and products with higher added value.
The Chief Minister observed that J&K needs a ‘perspective plan’ for building capacities to recycle majority of its solid waste for production of biogas and bio-fuel. “The remaining waste will then require minimal use of land for dumping purposes,” he added.
Presently, the waste is scientifically treated only in the summer capital at Achan Landfill site, which is being looked after by ERA (Economic Reconstruction Agency) under its ADB-funded Multi-Sector Project for Infrastructure Rehabilitation (MSPIR).
While Srinagar city generates 600 MT of waste every day, out of which SMC is able to lift 450 MT, the winter capital accumulates on an average 400 MT of solid waste every day. With heavy influx of visitors, several tourist destinations have become susceptible to waste hazards, thus prompting identification of land sites for solid waste disposal to effectively deal with the problem of littered garbage.
During the presentation, the Chief Minister was briefed by the firm on the options available for installing segregation-cum-recycling plants along with composting facility, as also installing a more-expensive fully composite unit that not only segregates and recycles but also produces tradable energy.
Mufti Sayeed was also informed about using small mobile plants which can criss-cross various tourist destinations in scientifically disposing of garbage without affecting the people.
Minister of State for H&UDD and I&C, Mohammad Ashraf Mir, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Mr B B Vyas, Commissioner / Secretary, H&UDD, Mr Bipul Pathak, Director General Information, Mr Zaffar Ahmad Bhat and Secretary Tourism, Farooq Ahmad Shah were also present on the occasion.
2015 Kashmir Despatch