Nearly one year ago, the residents of Diskitsal demanded to shift the dumping site of Bombgarh to some other place and they were promised that the landfill would be shifted by the end of April 2018. But so far nothing has been done. The increasing garbage issue with no waste management solution is becoming a major challenge in Leh.
The increasing urbanization and tourism industries result in the increase in garbage generation. The Municipal committee left no stone unturned to collect these waste but amidst all these facilities the question is, where does these truck loaded garbages disposed of? Is there any treatment plant?
The garbages are thrown openly in the Bombgarh area which is within the periphery of the residential area. The land has become a multi waste dumping area where the waste generated from slaughter, medical, restaurant and hotels, commercial, C&D and Municipal solid waste are dumped resulting in a breeding ground for dogs.
People of Housing Colony fears that the open dumping of wastes could spread diseases.
When asked about the assurance given to shift the bomb guard landfill, Rigzin Spalgon, Municipal Committee, Leh Administrator said, “The deadline which was fixed last year was too early. Because of the limited construction season in Ladakh, it was difficult to stick with the deadline. The machines needed for the solid waste management plant at Shakshalingu is yet to arrive.”
People of Diskitsal took out protest and met the stakeholders several times demanding to shift the dumping site to another location since last year.
Stanzin Otsal, Nambardar Diskitsal said, “Last year, Late Dr. Sonam Dawa, CEC promised us to shift the bombgarh till the end of April, but the month of May is going to end and no results are there. They failed to do as per their promise. We understand that it is not possible to stick with the fixed deadline and that’s why we were waiting till today. On May 22, we met Deputy Commissioner, Leh, Avny Lavasa to remind the issue, she assured us to shift it within a week time but if they fail to do so we are going to protest again”.
Terming it as a breeding ground for disease and dogs, he said, “We are facing lots of problem because of unplanned dumping site. Residents cannot go for circumambulation of the century-old sacred mani of Diskitsal due to fear of dogs. In the past also, we have several dog bite cases in the area. Wastes from all sides of Leh are dumped here and in summer, flies and insects are causing a threat of spreading diseases from it”.
Expressing dismay over the issue Otsal further said, “Late CEC had also promised to shift the slaughterhouse from the bombgarh last year and he also put a ban on the burning of waste. But still, it is carried out. During night and morning hours, the entire valley and its surrounding residents are filled with smoke coming out from the site.”
When asked about the issue, Rigzin Spalgon said, “Burning is not carried out from the last year but what happens is that during cold days the rag pickers living there burn firewood to keep them warm. Since it is all surrounded by waste the fire catches.”
The most hyped proposed plant which is going to build at a cost of â‚¹10.9 crore has been calling the scientific way of treatment by the stakeholders in the past. Although the proposed Solid Waste Management will be a welcome step on the part of district administration to minimize and manage the waste of Leh district but here again the question is, how scientific and result oriented will be the treatment plant? What facilities will be there?
Rigzin Spalgon said, “The primary segregation has already been started while collecting it, the green truck for kitchen and biodegradable waste and blue for solid waste. We already had distributed segregation bins among the people. When the entire machine reaches there will be secondary segregation like the food waste will go for composting plant, plastic bottles will be reused, and material which can be recycled will be done accordingly. However, the waste which can neither be reuse nor recycle will be dumped into the landfill which is ready at the Solid Waste Management site. Although, the landfill is not that scientific way of dumping if we could make up 90% of waste reuse and recycle, it is fine to be dump 10% of it. The problem of Municipal solid waste will solve in the near future and hopefully, we could run it this year.”
Nissar Hussain, Executive Engineer, Construction Division, Leh said, “The main reason for the delay is the tendering process. Since the cost of machines and in-vessel compost plant itself was not so high, the company rejects it. After several meetings, it was finally taken by WAPCOS. The work is going on at the site. In one month, machines will be brought down and installed. WAPCOS has promised to complete it by the end of August this year.”
Meanwhile, Leh main market has been beautified, and the sewerage system has also laid down last year. Shopkeepers complain about the odors coming out of the pit.
When asked about the issue, Rigzin Spalgon said, “We have time and again instructed the people not to dispose of the water until we complete the sewerage treatment plant in Agling. But people don’t follow and discharges their waste into it”.
“Till the completion of STP, we have recently tied up with a UK based company, to use bio remedial technique for the issue. We are going to set up a small septic tank which can treat on a temporary basis,” he added.
However, there are several other responsibilities on the part of the public which need to rectify and support the implementing agency to make it successful. Meanwhile, solid waste management and sewerage treatment plants are the need of the hour with the overflow of waste in the district.