Solan, January 28
In a bid to ensure speedy disposal of plastic waste dumped callously, the Department of Environment Science and Technology (DEST) has identified 70 sites across the state using satellite imagery.
The elaborate exercise undertaken by DEST officials was accomplished after a scientific analysis of the images of dumped waste obtained from across the state.
“Since the department has a licence for satellite usage, it was put to use to identify plastic waste sites by DEST after obtaining approval from the Chief Secretary. This is the first such endeavour in the country where satellite imagery has been put to use to identify plastic waste,” said Lalit Jain, Director, DEST. Once identified, DEST officials provide information about the sites to the local authorities comprising cantonment board officials, executive officers in urban local bodies (ULBs) and block development officers in rural areas, besides the Deputy Commissioners to ensure scientific disposal of the waste.
“Barring two tribal districts, 70 such sites have been identified in 10 districts. The process to apprise the local authorities of these dumps has begun,” said Jain.
He said awareness was being created through this exercise to ensure proper disposal of plastic waste as it was damaging the environment. It had been observed that heaps of waste had accumulated at these sites for years.
“The legacy waste accumulated for years has to be scientifically disposed of after inviting tenders from authorised agencies. A six-month period will be granted before the sites are revisited using satellite imagery,” said Jain.
The Central Pollution Control Board has laid down guidelines for the safe disposal of the legacy waste as its accumulation over years leads to generation of harmful gases. Cattle are often seen rummaging through such sites in rural areas. Cases of cattle mortality by consuming plastic waste come to the fore every now and then.
The maximum 17 sites have been identified at Shimla followed by nine each in Kangra and Hamirpur, seven each in Bilaspur and Mandi, five each in Chamba and Una and four each in Solan and Kullu. Such sites have been identified in towns or their precincts such as Solan, Baddi, Sundernagar, Paprola, Dharamsala, Rohru, Bilaspur, Chowari, Santokhgarh, Manali, Kullu, Dalhousie, Mandi, Sarkaghat and Rewalsar, and three in Sirmaur district.
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