Unregulated garbage dumping creates menace for Birubari residents
The Birubari area of the city has turned into a dumping ground for all the garbage collected by the NGOs of the entire Ward No 18.
The locals complained that garbage is being dumped at least thrice daily at the Ram Krishna Mission Road, about 20 metres from the Ram Krishna Mission.
Ward No 18, one of the most populated wards of the city, comprises Rupnagar, Bhangagarh, Simantapur, Birubari Bazar, parts of Ulubari, Rehabari etc. A total of three NGOs function there and the garbage of the majority of the ward are being dumped there despite there being two more garbage bins at Ulubari within a distance of 200 metres.
“I think, as this area is a bit far from the main roads and Ulubari being near the Assam Police headquarters, it has become a common dumping ground. Garbage from all the areas is not dumped here, but I am sure it comes from Rupnagar, Simantapur, entire Birubari area and Bishnupur. It is being dumped at least thrice daily – early morning, around noon or before and in the evening,” Kamalendu Deb, a constable at Assam Police headquarters living in Birubari said.
According to Pranab Majumdar, another resident who lives in the same locality, the garbage problem has aggravated due to unregulated dumping by the vendors in the Sarabhatti Bazar that has extended towards the Birubari area almost up to the gates of the Ram Krishna Mission in the last couple of years.
“After closing down the market, these roadside vendors dump all their garbage into the Birubari dustbin. Earlier, this area received only the Sarabhatti Bazar’s wastes, but with the market growing, so has the quantity of the wastes. It is high time that the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) finds a solution. Either they close the market or find a better waste management solution for the region,” Majumdar said.
The Sarabhatti Bazar is famous among Guwahatians for its variety of fish coming directly from the Assam Fishfed located in the vicinity and is growing larger with growing demands of the people.
“The foul stench can be smelt from about hundred metres away. Passing by the garbage area is a challenge we face on a daily basis. The Ram Krishna Mission Road connects with the GMCH Road which is a major artery connecting the AK Azad Road with the Gauhati Medical College & Hospital,” Majumdar added.
Garbage escalating diseases: Residents
The Birubari area, which is already plagued by mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, Japanese encephalitis and dengue for having water bodies in the vicinity, is staring at a graver situation due to disposed garbage remaining uncleared.
“We can say that the garbage disposing has attributed to a rise in the mosquito related diseases for sure because, almost every household in the vicinity of the dumping area has caught dengue this year,” Biren Saha, member of Birubari Pragati Sanmilan, an unregistered citizen’s organisation working for the locality said.
According to the National Vector-Borne Diseases Control Programme under the National Health Mission, this area is one among the eight highest dengue-prevalent wards of the city and second in terms of malaria incidences. Last year, it recorded highest cases of Japanese encephalitis in the city.
“Mosquito infestation had been a long pending problem in this area of the city. This is caused mostly due to the marshes around. Several rounds of fogging were conducted by both the residents and the GMC which bore no result. It can only be solved if the marshes are filled up. On top of that, the uncleared garbage is breeding more such mosquitoes. This year, the cases have seen an unprecedented rise,” Saha added.
The RK Mission Road, that crosses over the Bharalu River and cuts across marshes on both sides, was a marshland till the early 1900s before the population explosion in the city occurred with the shift of Assam capital from Shillong to Dispur.
Councillor passes buck to GMC
The garbage piles up and pollutes the entire area due to negligence of the GMC workers and not that of the NGOs, Abir Patra, councillor of the ward said.
“Isn’t it obvious? The work of the NGOs is to collect the garbage from the residents and dump those in the GMC dustbins from where GMC regularly clears and dumps those at the Boragaon dumping site. The pile up is not because of the NGOs but irregular clearing by the GMC,” Patra, former Mayor under the Congress regime who was replaced by Mrigen Sarania after the change of garb last year, said.
Hinting negligence by the BJP-led GMC council, Patra said, “This particular area of the ward developed from a marshland to one of the most populated areas of the city. This is because of the high living standards I strived to provide under my limited capacity. The scenario has changed now.”
“Besides regular cleaning, the area is also suffering from lack of fogging and irregular water supply,” Patra, added.
However, when asked about the unregulated garbage dumping by the sellers of the Sarabhatti Bazar, Patra denied having any information about it. He also declined from commenting if any formal permission was issued for the expansion of the market into the RK Mission road.
GMC refuted Patra’s allegations and said that the garbage accumulation is due to the unregulated dumping of garbage by the sellers of the market.
“We will very soon start an eviction drive on the roadside vendors there. They are operating without any permission. These vendors are the reason why despite several attempts to keep the area clean, GMC is unable to do so,” an official of the GMC told G Plus.