Srinagar: Residents of Achan facing an impending disaster and it comes with a disgusting stench and serious health hazards. Mountains of garbage can be seen in the area and the stench from these is simply overpowering.
As the city administration is yet to come up with an alternative or a viable garbage disposal plan, the residents are at a growing risk of various health hazards besides the obvious environmental degradation.
On an average, 400 metric tons of solid garbage is produced every day in Srinagar and dumped at Achan. However, the ongoing protests by the residents of the area has provided some respite from the pervading foul stench as the garbage dumping operations have been halted from sometime.
The Achan residents and other nearby inhabitants have started an agitation demanding that the garbage be dumped some place where it poses no threat to the human population. The residents said that they will not allow the SMC to dump garbage in the area anymore as the Corporation had failed to keep its promise of shifting the dumping site. In 2007 SMC officials promised that the dumping site would be shifted to some other place after a period of eighteen months, but that never happened, said Nazir Ahmad, a local resident.
More than 150 trucks full of garbage were being dumped there daily, but because of protests by the residents, only 30-40 trucks are being dumped now, an SMC employee said.
We are suffering a lot. You will find at leasttwo ailing members in every family of Achan, said Mariam Beigh, a resident. We have been repeatedly pleading the SMC and other authorities to pay heed to our sufferings. But unfortunately they are hardly bothered, she added.
Due to halting of cleaning operations in the city, piles of garbage have been collected on roads in various areas of the city like Parimpora, Noorbagh, Safakadal, Batamaloo, LalChowk, Karan Nagar, Hyderpora, Chanapora, Natipora, Hawal, Nowhatta, Rainawari, Hazratbal, Lal Bazar, Soura, Buchpura, KhanyarDalgateand Bemina.
This is just a way of intimidation.If people are facing problems, then why are they constructing new houses in that area?We have more than 40 employees working there,but they have not caught any diseases, said Manzoor Ahmed Turray, SMC Chief Sanitation officer.
It is all up to the state Government, if they provide us anotherplace then we will shift the dumping site there, he added.
According to Mohallacommunity member ofAchan, Majid Khan,there are nearly 70000 people living in the area. More than 70% of the population is suffering from chest infections, skin disorders, Breast cancer and TB.
These dumping sites can cause fungal, bacterial, and viral infections. They can also lead to environmental contamination by emanating poisonous gases. This can then lead to chronic diseases like diarrhea, gastroenteritis, typhoid and hepatitis, said GM Malik, a Gastroenterologist.
Children and old people are more vulnerable to these diseases as they have very weak immune system, he added.
Despite beingbrought up several times in the media, authorities are yet to provide any concrete alternatives to this clearly worrying issue. The health of the residents is of least concern to the authorities. Rather than providing us with an alternative, they are asking us to uproot your families and settle elsewhere, said Ghulam Rasool, a resident.
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