SRINAGAR: Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta has called upon local authorities, including municipalities, to achieve a 100 percent segregation of waste at its source. This directive aims to facilitate its scientific treatment and ensure the overall cleanliness of areas within their jurisdiction.

Dr Mehta conveyed these instructions while presiding over a meeting to assess the proposed action plan designed to safeguard Jammu and Kashmir water bodies in alignment with the recommendations of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

The meeting saw the participation Additional Chief Secretary from the Jal Shakti Department, the Principal Secretary from H&UDD, the Commissioner Secretary from RDD, the Commissioners of JMC/SMC, and the Chief Engineer of I&FC, among others.

Dr Mehta took stock of the steps taken thus far to prevent untreated sewage from entering water bodies, thereby curbing their pollution. He directed the H&UDD to ensure that local authorities segregate waste at its source, facilitating optimal recycling.

He stressed the importance of raising awareness among the public to encourage them to separate waste and deliver it separately to collection agencies. He also called upon the department to enhance its capacity for the scientific treatment of such waste.

Dr Mehta underscored the need to make landfill sites both appealing and devoid of odours. Furthermore, he highlighted the importance of incentivizing the establishment of these sites for locals, removing any reluctance they may have. He advised them to identify suitable sites from government-owned land, recently reclaimed by the Revenue Department.

He also emphasised that no water body in Jammu and Kashmir should be subjected to pollution. He regarded these bodies as invaluable resources that must be preserved for the future. Dr Mehta urged the authorities to ensure that residents living near rivers, lakes, canals, etc, have septic tanks for sewage treatment.

Additionally, he called for the creation of oxidation ponds and sewerage schemes in densely populated areas, especially in Srinagar and Jammu, where individuals lack the means to establish their own septic tanks, thus preventing untreated waste from being released into the environment.

The Chief Secretary recommended that officials visit Municipal Corporations in cities such as Mumbai, New Delhi, Indore, Ahmedabad, etc, to learn from their experiences. He urged them to examine successful models and adopt the most suitable ones within the Union Territory. He stressed the importance of full compliance with NGT directives to safeguard the environment. (KNO)


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