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Pollution pangs

No one could have put it more succinctly when the Chief Minister asserted that the most important factor for the worsening state of pollution in Manipur is the lack of civic sense among the public- an admission of a problem bound to get out of hand in the very near future. While the statement of the CM blaming the lack of strategic planning and long term vision of the previous government may be construed as a political jive, it also shows the intent of the present government to turn things around.
Things however are easier said than done, and going by the present standard of living and general awareness of the public, it will need much more than a great plan or vision to get things going. Recognizing and admitting the existence of a problem is however a positive step towards efforts to finding a solution. The next logical step therefore is the drawing up of a pragmatic waste management action plan taking into considerations the socio-economic conditions of the people in the state, followed with a concerted and sustained awareness drive utilizing various forms of media.
Waste management rules in India are based on the principles of “sustainable development”, “precaution” and “polluter pays”. These principles mandate municipalities and commercial establishments to act in an environmentally accountable and responsible manner—restoring balance, if their actions disrupt it. The increase in waste generation as a by-product of economic development has led to various subordinate legislations for regulating the manner of disposal and dealing with generated waste are made under the umbrella law of Environment Protection Act, 1986 (EPA). Specific forms of waste are the subject matter of separate rules and require separate compliances, mostly in the nature of authorisations, maintenance of records and adequate disposal mechanisms.

Although the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, and Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016, encourage a decentralised approach to managing waste, it has really been implemented in few cities, and has yet to take shape in our state. The state authorities alone cannot be left to deal with the humongous task of managing waste and pollution. Therefore, the state government should look into ways to initiate, encourage and support private entrepreneurs and organizations to set up units that directly or indirectly deals with waste management and pollution. Brainstorming and deliberating about reviving the night plaza is all well and good, however making efforts to reduce pollution and waste disposal should be given priority. Setting up of proper garbage collection sites with provisions for segregation of waste at source which is the most important and starting point of ensuring a proper waste management system should be made available to the public.
With an estimated 120 tonnes of waste being generated within Imphal city on a daily basis, the solid waste treatment plant at Lamdeng is ill-equipped to effectively process the waste. It is the duty of every household to curb wastage, reduce pollution and take up steps to reuse and recycle.
A strict implementation of the rules and imposition of stiff penalties to the defaulters will definitely go a long way in enforcing the laws. But for it to happen, necessary facilities and provisions should first be made available to the public.

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