Remember the days when taxi coloured black and yellow Vikrams circled around the city? If you do, then you must have travelled in one. And most probably have noticed the eye-catchy slogan inked on the Vikram citing, “स्वच्छ दून, सुन्दर दून” which literally translates Clean Doon, Green Doon. If you are gushing over it, then to be honest Doon was an unspoiled haven many decades ago.
But when the 80s came in splendor, the denizens of Doon created havoc. The rightfully blamed culprits for which are the locals and tourists who feel obligated to litter everywhere, since the city is less cared for. And last but not the least our sleepy government, which never felt the need to introduce an effective Waste Management Plan for the city.
Due to this negligence, our luscious Doon Valley has turned into a Wasteland. Once isolated and suburban areas of Rajpur and Raipur have become the favourite dumping sites for the locals. Placid areas like Sahastradhara, Nalapani, Lachhiwala, Dakpathar haven’t been left out. Even the river channels have not been spared of the wrath.
Let’s take the seasonal Rispana river as an example that meanders through various corners of the city. It has not only become a dumpster for the locals but also offers a grand feast to the pigs to hog on the garbage. This has not only deteriorated the river body but has caused severe health haphazard to the animals, munching on the waste.
One can rarely spot dustbins in Doon and if you do then most probably they are over flooded. Flies dominate the area and one cannot escape the foul stench that can cause a severe migraine. Few of the dustbins that have been placed by the Municipal Corporation are never emptied and waste remains scattered around the place.
Stray dogs can be occasionally spotted here, posing in style as if they have found their valley of trash with loads of cash! Since these dustbins are seldom emptied, the garbage can be seen littered everywhere.
The leniency of the government has given thrust to the builders, who have planted a multi-storey residential building on the trenching ground near Sahastradhara. Many environmentalists often press on the dangers of living near dumping areas and landfills, as it increases the risk of having birth defects and certain types of cancers.
Those who live here often report symptoms like fatigue, sleepiness, and headaches. A protest was held by the residents for shifting the dumping ground from their locality to Shishambara Waste Plant, after which their demand was met.
Shishambara Waste Plant in Dehradun proposed under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme has encountered several issues. The plant cannot segregate hazardous waste of the city at the micro level. All sort of toxic waste including battery cells, heavy metals, and bio-medical waste is being used for composting here, which will result in soil and water pollution.
During a survey conducted by the Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board. It was found that the Shishambara plant is unable to segregate waste of thickness below 70 mm. Another issue was raised by the inhabitants of Shishambara, who complained about the putrid smell emanating from the treatment plant. Over 60 lakhs have been spent and a number of cases have been filed in the name of the project, which is due in the High Court and Supreme Court.
A few years ago, one couldn’t cross the area around Darshan Lal Chowk as it was badly littered. The place where the public dustbin was placed by the Nagar Nigam was heaped with solid waste. It bore an unsettling pungent smell that people couldn’t stroll around the place without covering their noses. The whitewashed wall of the Central Government Holiday Homes, which now boasts the cool graffiti of Lord Shiva was painted red with tobacco and paan stains.
The situation was such that the entire place around Darshan Lal Chowk appeared like a mini dumping site. To discourage littering, a beautiful mural of Lord Shiva yelling, “Mother Earth is a temple, not a dustbin!” was painted by a husband and wife duo from abroad. Surprisingly the message rang in the ears of locals for quite some time, after which they resorted to their old ways. And once again, the place was in a mess with posters glued to the walls.
|Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility||49.60||Moderate|
|Dissatisfaction with Garbage Disposal||81.15||Very High|
|Dirty and Untidy||70.56||High|
|Noise and Light Pollution||62.70||High|
Since its inception as a capital, Doon has miserably failed to meet the standards of Solid Waste Management. The city not only lacks a proper Waste Management Plan but its existing plan is a disappointment too. Some of the loopholes that can be easily seen are:
According to a survey conducted by Green Peace India titled as ‘Airpocalypse II-an assessment of air pollution in Indian cities’. Dehradun was listed among the top five cities in the country that reported the highest particulate matter, PM10 during 2015-16. Delhi reported the highest (PM10) followed by Haryana’s Faridabad, Bhiwadi in Rajasthan, Bihar’s Patna and Dehradun in Uttarakhand. A total of 280 cities across the country were covered during the study.
As per the contents of the report, in 2015 the average of PM10 was 190 µg/m3 in Dehradun which increased to 238 µg/m3 in 2016. The yearly average was 238 µg/m3. The study quoted that Dehradun had the highest PM10 levels in the state, with annual levels as high as, four times above, the annual standard. It was almost two and a half times above, the daily standards prescribed under the national ambient air quality standard.
It is a hard-hitting fact that the government and the people of Doon have failed to give justice to the city’s catchphrase, “Green Doon, Clean Doon”. However, we can change the scenario with public awareness and participation. Even we as individuals can bind together to create a change. Here are some of the baby steps that we can take to make a cleaner, greener, and better Dehra:
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