Wular Conservation: Solid Waste Management In Fringe Villages Recommended

File Photo Of Wular Lake

Srinagar- There is an immediate need for proper sustainable management of solid wastes in the “fringe villages” of Wular Lake, as most of the garbage from households and eventually from these villages go directly to the lake, Advocate Nadeem Qadri, amicus curiae of the Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh court has said.

On August 20, the court asked Advocate Qadri to visit the Wular lake in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district and submit the recommendations and suggestions for the protection and conservation of the Lake.

It may be noted, the court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), filed by Kashmir Environmental Protection, regarding the conservation, protection and preservation of the lake.

The court had directed the government to file an Action Taken Report (ATR) regarding detailed status about utilisation of funds, encroachment status of Wular lake, staff strength of authority and latest position of lake conservation manners taken by said Authority to conserve the lake.

The amicus curiae took a detailed visit to Lake to have first hand ground level information from the stakeholders and all involved officials and persons observed that the solid waste of the villages aloud the lake pollutes and deteriorates the quality and quantity of lake and its flora and fauna and suggested that these villages should be integrated and brought under various schemes of the Rural Development Department like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Solid Waste Management Schemes of Municipal Councils or Committee, Swachh Bharat Mission or other platforms in terms of solid waste management.

“The streams or canals which take the solid waste or household wastes to the lake need to be appropriately maintained and cleaned by all concerned agencies,” Qadri submitted in his report to the court, a copy of which lies with Kashmir Observer.

He further suggested that there is an immediate need for awareness, capacity-building programs etc. in these areas to address the waste generation problem at the source.

“It is thus proposed that a sustainable solid waste management model must be adopted, where collection and disposal or waste is done on a scientific basis,” Qadri recommended the court.

He further recommended that Information, Education & Communication (IEC) must be carried out in these villages on priority basis and immediate need to start solid waste management practices in these villages.

He further recommended that the villages around the lake can be developed as Zero Waste climate-smart villages if all departments “pitch in” sincerely.
Advocate Qadri has proposed that the Management of solid, liquid waste and other household garbage from the rural areas of Bandipora, which ultimately finds its way towards Wular, must be treated scientifically.

“Immediate attention must be given to the 35 plus adjacent villages of lake, where Wular absorbs all the pollutants coming from households,” Qadri recommended.

He further suggested that the scientific data related to the extent of solid waste from 33 villages needs to be submitted before this Court by Wular Conservation and Management Authority (WUCMA) which may be examined and its scientific treatment as per the solid waste Management Rules may be ensured.

Regarding the dumping of wastes near the lake by the Municipalities of Sopore and Bandipora town, the amicus curiae observer that even with the active intervention of the High Court one dumping site at Tarzoo (Sopore municipality) and Zalwan (Bandipora municipality) was closed for being in contravention of the rules and within the boundary pillars of Wular. However, again the Municipal Council Sopore has identified a site for open dumping of solid waste falling within the forest compartment which can cause serious threat to the biodiversity of the lake and its surrounding areas.

“As such, it is suggested that the said dumping site may be directed to be closed immediately and relocated at some place far away from Wular lake,” the report reads.

Advocate Qadri said that five villages would be taken up on a pilot basis for starting solid waste management activities.

“Out of these, three villages have already been adopted by the Municipal Council Bandipora, including Zalwan Park, for maintenance and development,” the report reveals.

Qadri also observed that the encroachments in Lake were mainly found in the form of Plantations which are being removed. However, he said that there is an encroachment threat at the Ningli Portion of the Lake, for which boundary consolidation and strengthening should be done with fencing to save encroachment in future, and other measures need to be taken into consideration.

Qadri further recommended that there is a need for immediate preparation of a Revised Conservation management action plan that should be done as recommended by the experts of Lake.

“As recommended, an integrated approach must be adopted to prepare CMAP, which is already in vogue with the Irrigation & Flood Control Department against an amount. 1623 cr,” the report reads.

He further recommended that feeder channels of Wular Lake need a restoration on a similar pattern as has been done for Naaz Nallah by WUCMA.

“This will help in restoring the hydraulic connectivity of the lake with adjacent wetlands,” the report said.

Qadri observed that the restoration of 4.35 sq. km of lake is complete of which 3:10 sq kms has been restored in the present contract. 63,93 lac cms of silt have been dredged out from the lake In addition, the bund consolidation and slope improvement has been made.

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed

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