With rising human activity in the hills in the form of tourism Uttarakhand is becoming a dumping ground for all kinds of garbage since the past many years. This was amply proved when recently National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand to look into the problem and submit a report. The NGT washearing a petition moved by the petitioners, NGO, Friends and former Chairman of International Union of Forest Research Organizations, Vienna, Dr. Ajay Singh Rawat.
The petitioners had submitted details of the waste dumped in the hills including photographs where it was showed that widespread dumping of garbage was being done in Uttarakhand hills in the form of solid wastes, plastic wastes, bio-medical wastes, hazardous wastes and other obnoxious matter, especially in the higher reaches of the state.
The tribunal will hear the matter with the main petition pertaining to Compliance of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 for the State of Uttarakhand, which will come up for consideration in September.
The petition was moved through Akash Vashishtha, Advocate, was argued by Rajiv Dutta, Senior Advocate.
Sharad Tiwari, General Secretary of Friends NGO said: “Due to no clear policy regarding waste disposal by resorts and hotels, garbage is thrown out anywhere in the open. It’s high time Uttarakhand comes up with a policy to connect tourism with environment so that pollution is minimised.” He lamented that despite being called Dev Bhumi, neither the Government nor the hotel industry has taken any steps to keep the hills clean.
“The entire hills of the state were in distress because of unrestrained dumping everywhere and no disposal thereof. The garbage is thrown, gets accumulated and is then set on fire. The biggest problem creators are the hotels, resorts and restaurants. Tourists are plundering the hills like anything,” Sr. Advocate, Rajiv Dutta, told the court.
The petitioners mentioned how in Swachh Survekshan 2019, the state capital Dehradun slipped to the 384 th slot out of 425 cities having a population of over one lakh, which witnesses the abysmal performance of the state capital. A total of 4,237 cities had participated in the survey but no city in Uttarakhand featured in the list of top 250.
The illegal dumping of solid and other kinds of wastes is aggravating the pollution in the air, springs, rivers, groundwater and overall environment of the region, which is already under tremendous duress from severe, unbridled anthropogenic pressures, said the petition. The crisis has assumed alarming proportions in the hill state.
–By Prasoon Pant