The goal of making the city cleaner and greener is admirable, but the methods used to accomplish it are dubious and have sparked concerns among Srinagar residents. These concerns are real and need to be addressed because the decision was likely made without considering the relevant facts, which are essential for the initiative to succeed and meet its stated goals. The deployment of Hooper Vehicles that shout on loudspeakers at decibel levels high enough to permanently harm a person’s ears and the order given by the Commissioner, SMC, for citizens to dispose of their rubbish in the early morning hours are not only insensitive but also unnecessary.
The SMC has absolutely failed to recognise that waste collection vans cannot travel through the congested and densely inhabited parts of Srinagar, which makes it obvious that such an order will only make life miserable for everyone, especially patients. From the location of its Achan Dumping Site, which has already made the lives of over half of the city’s residents miserable, its failure is abundantly evident. There are now very few takers for the SMC’s proposal to work on the project for the removal of legacy garbage as well as biomining and bioremediation of current waste at Achan because the failure is clear.
The city of Srinagar has already been turned into a concrete jungle as part of the Srinagar Smart City Project, and the decision to remove dumpsters from the city raises concerns about the viability of garbage management in such a city, particularly the collection and means of collection. To attain a cleaner environment, waste segregation and proper doorstep collection are essential steps. However, this cannot be done at the expense of the inhabitants’ comfort and well-being, which has been completely disregarded as a result of the order given by the SMC’s “Badshah Salamat”.
There is a critical need to first address citizen concerns and implement a workable waste collection system that does not inconvenience the populace, while also taking into account the particular difficulties of a densely populated city like Srinagar and coming up with sustainable solutions. The move lacks the active participation and cooperation of the citizens. Mr Commissioner has to understand that it is unfair to compare Srinagar with developed cities in the UK and the USA. Since Srinagar is a special city with its own set of problems, it needs a specialised answer that is catered to its requirements. Making Srinagar a smart and sustainable city requires careful consideration of its residents’ demands, not random diktats.
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