An instance wherein a gram panchayat that was duty-bound to protect the environment itself indulging in environment pollution has come to light in Hejmadi in Udupi district where solid waste from the neighbouring Padubidri Gram Panchayat limits was being dumped on the banks of the Shambhavi.
Local residents and fishermen of Hejmadi in Udupi district and Mulki in Dakshina Kannada district who did not wish to be named said that they began witnessing floating of substantial quantity of plastic waste in the river about four months ago. Shambhavi flows between Hejmadi and Mulki.
A resident said that when he went in search of the source of plastic waste in the river recently; he came across a waste dumping site on the banks of the river on its northern bank, to the east of the bridge on NH 66. All kinds of municipal waste, including plastic and non-biodegradable as well as wet waste, were dumped on the land while periodically they were being rolled down to the earth.
An average of one truckload of waste from Padubidri Gram Panchayat was being dumped every day on the site from where leachate has already begun flowing into the river. This was in addition to non-biodegradable waste joining the river, he said. Quoting a local fisherman as saying, the resident said that fishermen too have not been getting adequate catch in the river.
Panchayat Development Officer of Padubidri Gram Panchayat Panchakshari said that since the panchayat did not have adequate space at its Solid and Liquid Resource Management Centre, it had outsourced wet waste handling to a contractor in June last. While the panchayat was paying ₹ 53,000 a month to the contractor for waste handling, the latter had said that he was dumping the garbage on his private land.
The Panchayat Development Officer, however, said that he was not aware about the location of the dumping site. He said that he was away for four months due to ill health.
Udupi Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer Y. Naveen Bhat told The Hindu that the action was deplorable and he was not shown this particular place during his recent visit to identify waste management dumping yard for the gram panchayat. Stringent action would be taken against the Panchayat Development Officer and the contractor besides arranging for removal of the dumped waste from the river bank, Dr. Bhat said. He was sending a team to assess the quantum of dumped waste.
Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by Water Today staff and is generated from news feeds. Source: The Hindu