Fighting the Impending Catastrophe of Land Pollution in Kashmir

The possibility of an epidemic looms large over Anantnag, the second biggest district in Kashmir after Srinagar. After the floods, which hit the region in September earlier this year, the problems of sanitation and hygiene have become manifest. Fumigation of the busy areas in the city, especially the bus stand and the market that surrounds it, is required to avoid the spread of diseases that are imminent to breed in the heaps of accumulated waste. Call To Action: You can call Tasaduq Jeelani, the District Collector of Anantnag, at +91-9419006330 and ask that fumigation of the area be started immediately and Municipal Council of Anantnag soon find a secluded place — like a quarry in nearby Dunipana — to dump the waste generating from the city. Waste disposal has been a problem in Anantnag since even before the floods. The high tide of water that filled the streets only accentuated it — divulging the muck from the heaps that fumed pungently at every corner. The response from the Municipal Council was to take the waste of the city and dump it in an enormous mound near the busy market of the bus station, much to the chagrin of the traders that sit nearby and the people of the residential colonies surrounding it. “Many of us, after developing infections, decided to keep their shops shut until the garbage is removed. Besides, the people too have stopped visiting this market now,” a group of shopkeepers was quoted saying in Kashmir Reader, a regional newspaper. The bank of the Lider River — a couple of miles away from the city — has also been polluted to rid the city of its garbage. Huge stocks of poisonous waste inflict the water here — risking the lives of creatures that inhabit it, and the health of anyone else who comes in contact with the stream. Community Correspondent Shafat Mir, who lives in Anantnag, talked to social activists in the area who have been trying to find a solution to this problem. With their help, he is trying to get an approval from the government to dump all the garbage from Anantnag into an isolated area, where the dangerous consequences on the health of his fellow citizens will be minimised. A large number of illegal quarries are situated in the nearby village of Dunipana. It would be an ideal location for waste disposal as the quarries are mostly isolated, and safely away from the bustle of the city. Though far from an ideal solution, this will minimise the chances of respiratory diseases stemming in the second largest district of Kashmir. In the coming weeks, CC Shafat will work closely with other activists and with their help, try to rid the streets of Anantnag from the garbage and secure clean air for its residents. These efforts are instrumental in keeping the imminent environmental disaster at bay.

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