Action plan for solid waste management


The solid waste management is one of the most essential services for maintaining the quality of life in urban areas and for ensuring better standards of health and hygiene. However, this service falls short of the desired level due to institutional weaknesses, shortage of resources, improper technology and lack of short and long term planning. After being repeatedly reprimanded by the State High Court, the Government has come out with draft action plan for municipal solid waste management in the length and breadth of the State while admitting that there is no significant improvement in the prevailing situation so far despite huge expenditure by the Municipal agencies. Keeping all these aspects in mind, the National Green Tribunal vide order dated January 15, 2015 had directed all the States to prepare an action plan at the State level for solid waste management in accordance with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
However, the directions of the National Green Tribunal were not taken seriously by the J&K Government as a result of which no improvement could be brought in the solid waste management services in any part of the State. In the meanwhile, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the State High Court seeking various directions to the State Government for effective handling of the municipal solid waste. The Division Bench of the State High Court issued several directions to the State from time to time while expressing serious concern over inept handling of the municipal solid waste. Even the Chief Secretary was directed to convene meetings of all the concerned authorities and stakeholders to examine the issues relating to the disposal of solid waste in scientific manner and prepare action plan as directed by the National Green Tribunal over three and half years back.
Now, after being repeatedly reprimanded by the State High Court, the State Government has woken up from the deep slumber and come out with the draft action plan, which has been placed in the public domain for inviting suggestions and comments from the stakeholders. All the Municipal authorities are responsible for providing basic civic amenities including solid waste management services. The magnitude and density of urban population is increasing rapidly as a consequence of which the Municipal agencies spend about 5% to 25% of their budget in solid waste management. The department has, however, admitted in the draft action plan that despite such heavy expenditure the present level of service in many urban areas is so low that there is a threat to the public health in particular and the environment quality in general. On an average 1792 tonnes of solid waste is generated every day in the State and 1322 tonnes per day is collected by the Municipal authorities thereby leaving 470 tonnes of solid waste uncollected every year.

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