Jammu’s beauty marred by careless waste disposal

KRISHNA MOHAN                                                                                               JAMMU: No doubt, Jammu is a gift of nature which has bestowed its beauty lavishly on the place, be it in the city or the interior villages.
While the interior villages, which possess scenic beauty and a peaceful atmosphere, are threatened with air and land pollution caused by the brick kilns, the city is facing the problem of garbage accumulation, with no proper disposal system.
The rivers and water bodies in Jammu are polluted, since they are receivers of sewage water. Much of the garbage in the city is directly or indirectly dumped into the river or other water bodies. As a result, River Tawi, which is considered a sacred river by residents here and where they used to perform religious rituals, has been reduced to a filthy bed of garbage, full of plastic bottles, plastic bags and other waste.
Apart from this, garbage accumulation can be seen near wells and the drinking water is getting polluted by leakages from damaged sewage channels and animal and agricultural wastes.
Despite the ban on plastics with thickness below 50 microns, use of plastic bags for packaging purposes is continuing in the city. These polythene bags, which do not bio-degrade for hundreds of years lie in the soil for centuries , causing the soil to lose its fertility. Besides, since sewage and water pipes can be blocked by the polythene bags and other packing material, they can also lead to an outbreak of epidemics like diarrhoea and cholera, as happened in Kampala in 1997.
Polythene bags can also cause water-logging, since water cannot percolate through them. Besides, the roadsides being littered by polythene bags and other packing material is quite a disgustful sight and spoils the beauty of the city.
If we come to know the time taken by many of the things that we carelessly throw on the roadside to decompose, we will think twice before littering public places again.
Banana peels take 3 to 4 weeks to decompose, orange peels 2 months, cigarette butts 1 to 5 months, paper bags 1 month, woollen cloth 1 to 5 months, nylon 30 to 40 months, leather boots nerly 50 months, rubber soles of boots 50 to 80 years, tin cans 80 to 100 yeas, aluminium cans 200 to 500 years, glass bottles and plastic bottles an indefinite time.
In Jammu, millions of polythene bags and other materials are scattered all over the city and millions of them end up in water bodies. Orange peels, banana peels, cigarette butts, and other waste are aplenty on the roadsides. Above 42 nullahs flow into the Tawi River carrying the garbage of the entire old city. Garbage heaps on the roadside are a common sight.
It is high time the authorities started penalising people who dirty the surroundings. Besides, the city also has to have a safe and planned system of garbage disposal . A well-planned garbage disposal system is the need of the time in Jammu at this juncture, especially since we are now plagued by increasing Covid-19 cases. Let us make Jammu a clean city as well as a green city.