GUWAHATI: Residents have urged political parties to ensure that solid waste is not dumped at the Boragaon dumping yard, adjacent to Ramsar site Deepor Beel. Instead, they want parties to prioritise development of an underground sewerage system. The city generates 550 TPD (tonnes per day) of solid waste and 85-90% of this is carted off to Boragaon daily.
Padma Shri winner and former MLA Ajay Dutta told TOI that the authorities should stop dumping the city’s garbage at Boragaon, as the waste was contaminating the Beel. “The waste is being dumped without segregation at source. As all types of garbage are dumped there, the environment in and around the area is polluted. It is affecting the quality of the soil and groundwater there,” said the 80-year-old social activist.
He said nobody was talking about civic infrastructure in Guwahati ahead of the polls. “An hour’s downpour triggers waterlogging here. Contour survey to determine the flow of water in the city has not been done yet. Underground sewers are a must,” Dutta said.
The activist also said natural reservoirs needed to be preserved and those water bodies that had been destroyed needed to be restored. “Guwahati had 40 beels or wetlands and 17 hills. How many exist now? The hills have been destroyed and the beels have been filled up,” he said, adding that apart from a few flyovers, which have resulted in more snarls, nothing has been done to address urban issues.
The city’s growth has been unplanned and its population-carrying capacity has been breached a long time ago. Two laws are in place but neither the Assam Hill Land and Ecological Sites (Protection and Management) Act, 2006, nor the Guwahati Waterbodies (Preservation and Conservation) Act, 2008, has had any impact. Waterbodies continue to shrink, aggravating the problem of artificial floods.
“You can see greater adjutant storks, an endangered species, feed on plastic and other toxic waste at the landfill site. The stink from the dumpsite affects the people and the schools of Boragaon,” said Sangita Kalita, a resident of the locality. “We have to first find an alternative dumpsite. Secondly, we have to segregate garbage at source,” said Bibhab Talukdar, secretary general and CEO of Aaranyak, an organisation working on green issues.