Local residents of Chandrapur in Guwahati have strongly opposed and condemned the move to shift Guwahati’s garbage dumping site from Boragaon in West Guwahati to the newly-chosen site at Chandrapur in the eastern suburbs of the city.
The residents fear that the move will affect the biodiversity of the area.
Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) on June 28 started dumping of the garbage at Chandrapur following an Assam government direction on June 24 which asked the Kamrup Metro district authorities to discontinue dumping of garbage at Boragaon site and use the alternative site at Chandrapur.
Locals staged a 10-hour sit-in protest at Chandrapur on June 28, along with members of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), decrying the plan to dump solid wastes generated by the city. They fear that all garbage generated in Guwahati will be dumped at the Chandrapur site. Guwahati city, with a population of over one million, generates 550 tonnes of solid waste per day.
AASU leader Tutumani Kalita, who was protesting since September 2019, said that the demonstration on June 28 was a part of series of agitation against the dumping and will continue until the dumping isn’t stopped.
“We have written to the chief minister and sought his intervention as well. Chandrapur is a popular tourist destination due to its greenery and geographical location on the banks of Brahmaputra. We vehemently oppose the dumping of the entire waste materials from the city. The waste has destroyed the ecology in Deepor Beel and now it will pollute the water of Kolong and Brahmaputra rivers,” Kalita said.
Locals are worried because the site is adjacent to Kolong river which, along with Digaru, merges with Brahmaputra in close proximity and Chandrapur being a natural corridor between two biodiversity sites – Amchang wildlife sanctuary on the west and Pobitora wildlife sanctuary across the Kolong in the east, the native people’s harmony with nature is likely to disrupt.
“Chandrapur, being the easternmost extension of the district and a peri-urban area, houses natural biodiversity in bounty. The landfill issue that has risen as GMC trucks have entered to dump waste from Guwahati in the now-dysfunctional ASEB premises shows the sheer lack of proper waste management arrangement and how insensitive municipal authorities are towards natural biodiversity,” Unmilan Kalita, a native of Chandrapur said.
Kalita, who is also a student of University of Delhi, said that they had several meetings with the local representatives and municipal officials but they were unable to substantively explain the ‘waste-to-energy project’ that they claimed to do on the site.
“The very fact that waste disposal sites are different from waste producing sites brings this debate into motion,” he said.
Chandrapur is one of the four sites given to GMC for the purpose of developing Integrated Solid Waste Management Facilities (SWMF) in Guwahati as per a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order of February 11, 2020. The NGT had asked to relocate the dumping ground from Boragaon which was located adjacent to freshwater lake Deepor Beel. Environmental organizations and conservationists had also been demanding the government for long to shift the dumping site from Boragaon.
A GMC official told TheNewsMill that dumping of the garbage started at the new site from June 28. “People of Chandrapur shouldn’t worry, as our project there is only a solid waste management plant,” the official.