Synthetic pollution in Kangra – who’s the culprit Govt. or residents?

JAWALAMUKHI: The much-talked-about anti-polythene drive in the town faces an untimely death following the dumping of polythene waste in different areas. The uncooperative attitude of residents has shattered the plans of social workers and volunteers engaged in the drive to end this “synthetic pollution.”

Polythene has polluted the entire town whether it is the nullahs, residential areas or backyards of shops and offices. The worst affected are the nullahs where polythene bags and packets are dumped, making water stagnant. People living on either side of these nullahs have to suffer the unbearable stink caused by the waste in such bags.

The nullah which runs between the temple compound and Pajari mohalla areas are replete with polythene waste, says a social activist, Mr Krishan Parmar. These nullahs are seasonal. All the filth wrapped in polythene bags comes to door of houses during the rainy season when nullahs become streams of filth.

The condition of other nullahs is no different. Big nullah gets half of the town’s garbage. Kitchen and other waste in such bags not only produce a nauseating stink, it also results in giving way of the nullah’s banks.

The stink is so strong that even rag-pickers avoid collecting polythene from these nullahs. “We prefer to collect dry polythene bags as collecting wet ones from the stinking nullah is unhygienic and an invitation to health hazards,” says a rag picker.

The area between the bus stand and Mandir Road gets the largest amount of polythene waste. The nullah is without a lining at some places which leads to the waste coming on to the path. The whole area gets blocked particularly during the rainy season and causes inconvenience to passers-by. Scores of polythene bags can be seen strewn near the old bus stand.

While residents blame the Nagar Panchayat for the heaps of waste, which gets scattered everywhere by winds, social workers and anti-polythene campaigners blame residents for littering their areas with polythene waste.

Nagar Panchayat officials lament that despite providing each house with a waste collection bag, the result has not been encouraging. The practice of throwing garbage in polythene bags continues unabated. The non-availability of eco-friendly and cheap packing substances have aggravated the situation. The situation has become so bad that polythene bags have started accumulating even under signboards carrying anti-polythene slogans!

The Nagar Panchayat hopes to get rid of the polythene waste availing of NORAD funded schemes. However, a solution lies not just in commissioning the waste removal schemes, but in setting up a number of waste collection and segregation centres. The town’s elite feels that it cannot get rid of this polythene unless responsibility is fixed on residents. Those throwing garbage in polythene bags outside dustbins should be penalised to discourage this practice.

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