Thursday, April 25, 2024

Govt struggles with waste management


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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, Feb 25: The state government is facing a major challenge in addressing the problem of solid and liquid waste management both in the urban and rural areas.
The PHE Department had prepared a detailed action plan under the Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0 to upgrade and improve solid waste management in terms of collection, segregation, and setting up processing facilities. Requisite proposals for the sanction of funds were submitted accordingly.
But the efforts are yet to be noticed on the ground. The state government has not been able to find an alternative landfill site for Shillong and Jowai. The present landfill site at Marten has reached a point of saturation.
The absence of waste management in the rural areas is also apparent. There is a need to create awareness among the rural populace on the importance of waste management, which is crucial for improving human and environmental health.
The Swachh Bharat commitment to rural households demands the disposal of garbage in a scientifically sensible manner. Waste management experts feel it is unjust to blame households for irresponsibility when a proper disposal system is absent in rural areas.
Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said the government is doing its best to address this issue. Citing Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, he said some temporary measures have already been taken up.
He said budget allocations have been made to make sure that the Marten dumping ground continues to function.
Leader of the Opposition, Ronnie V Lyngdoh said the government will not be able to solve this problem if it sticks to conventional. He advised the government to explore new technologies available as it is not easy to get a huge landfill site.
“We know that there are technologies to turn waste into wealth. We have seen how it is being done successfully in some other states,” he said.
Lyngdoh said the state government will need a landfill site for the disposal of waste as a short-term measure. He also said the KHADC has taken steps to address the problem of waste management within its jurisdiction.
UDP legislator from Amlarem, Lahkmen Rymbui said many urban localities and villages are finding it tough to manage the waste they generate.
He appreciated the government’s plan to introduce waste disposal trucks but said it is equally important to create awareness among the rural populace on the segregation of waste from the source.
“We will also need to have dumping sites and waste management centres where the villages can dump the garbage. It is only then that the garbage collection trucks will serve the purpose,” Rymbui said.
Echoing a similar concern, NPP legislator from Mawkynrew, Banteidor Lyngdoh said the people in the rural areas need to be educated on how to dispose of plastic and other non-biodegradable waste so that the land and water bodies are not contaminated.
He said the government should act now and not wait for the situation to worsen.
“We would not like to see our rivers and streams in the rural areas face the same fate like the Umkhrah River,” he said.


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