Srinagar, Mar 25: While the government claims that protection of the environment was its top priority, the implementation of various anti-pollution laws is still a distant dream in Jammu and Kashmir.
Various anti-pollution laws have been framed in the state over the years like, Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act 1974, Air Prevention and Control of Pollution Act 1981, Environment Protection Act 1986, JK Non-Biodegradable Material Act 2007, JK Brick Kiln Act 2010. But official sources said there is rarely any implementation of these laws, Besides that disposal of waste has to be managed by Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules 2016, Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016, Hazardous and Other Waste Rules 2016, Construction and Demolition Waste Rules 2016 and E-Waste Management Rules 2016.
As per official details, in the year 2015-16 one workshop was organized on solid waste management for officials of the municipal bodies. According to these details, awareness programmes were conducted in 28-schools wherein around 6500 students were sensitized about pollution issues. Besides 111 awareness camps have been organized.
Officials within State Pollution Control Board said that suspended particulate matter (SPM) and respiratory suspended particulate matter (RSPM) have witnessed a steep rise over the years due to increasing number of vehicles, crushers and factories.
An environmentalist said that the authorities have failed to implement environment policy in the state. “We have all types of pollutions in the Valley but nobody is listening to reduce the pollution level here. J&K is the worst possible states in pollution level.”
He said government has been hiding the facts that pollution level was not increasing at an alarming rate in the state. “Our water bodies are extremely polluted. Harmful gases are emitting from factories and huge dust is emitting from roads. For the last three years, over three lakh vehicles have been added on the roads and they would have added to a greater extend to pollute the environment.”
A total of 355102 vehicles have been registered in the state during last three years, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16. Of which 143146 have been registered in Kashmir and 211956 in the Jammu region.
There has been around 120 percent increase in traffic for the last seven years. According to the official figures, the number of vehicles in J&K was 6,68,445 in 2008. In 2009, it gained7.77 percent increase and reached upto 7,37,581.
While as in the year 2010, 2011, 2012; it increased traffic percentage of 10.34, 11.92 and 11.98 percent respectively and their number reached to 9,16,898 in the state. And now the number has reached to around 14 lakhs. Private cars and two wheelers account for 81 percent of vehicle population in JK.
136 pollution checking centres are registered by the Motor Vehicles Department out of which 81 are working. However, it has been seen that pollution under control certificate is just a formality for vehicles due to lack of reliable pollution checking centres.
The non-commercial vehicles are supposed to be phased out after 15 years of service while as the commercial vehicles are condemned after 25 years by disallowing certificate of roadworthiness. “Despite creating immense pollution, non-commercial vehicles are not being condemned,” a senior official of Transport department said. He said just 7,776 commercial vehicles have been phased out from 1973 to March, 2016.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has banned all 10-year-old diesel vehicles from plying on Delhi roads. The Supreme Court has also supported the NGT’s decision of banning all 10-year old diesel vehicles. However, officials said the government has no such plan to implement such decisions in the state. (KNS)