Dimapur grapples with mounting garbage dumps
DIMAPUR, MAY 6
THE commercial capital of Nagaland is being besieged by a menace as sinister as the extortion that plagues the town’s citizens – growing garbage, and stagnant toxic waste.
Early Tuesday morning, a group of municipal workers from the Dimapur Municipal Council converged at the nauseous drain just next to Holy Cross School in the heart of the town’s commercial block. The workers started their dirty work at around 8 am. They managed to scoop out at least ‘four truckloads’ of knee-high decompose that had been in the drain for ‘ages.’
The agency’s Inspector of Sanitation, Temsuwapang Longchar, who led the municipal personnel in removing the most infamous channel in the city, was not amused that the Naga public continues to walk the path of education, yet having little to show for civic sense. “We the public are responsible; we don’t have civic sense; we throw garbage everywhere; if we could have civic sense, our city is a good place to live,” Longchar told this reporter Tuesday. Interestingly, a group of young people from a youth church are currently undertaking cleaning drives across major locations in the town – for one entire month.
The municipal official was not unaware of the complaints about the growing number of garbage dumps along every stretch of road and nooks in the town. He assured that the municipal has been exerting its best in keeping the town clean. The entire workforce of the municipal council’s sanitation division engages in their daily-scrub-and-offload duties from 5 AM, every day.
He said that the cleaning teams, in two groups of sweepers and carriers, start their work from 5: 00 pushing their tasks through to Circular Road all the way to ADC Court and then to Dhobinullah and the circular to north of the city. It is the public that is absent from the effort but this may be changing with the a section of the youth believing in cleanliness drivers.
“We clear up the garbage in the main city by 8 am. It seems the shopkeepers and citizens start littering / throwing their waste right after the cleaning teams have cleaned the area and left. There is no timing for them (citizens),” he said.
Earlier, the municipal had issued a notice requesting citizens to dispose waste only before 6 AM (before the cleaners come)or after 6 PM (cleaners come in the morning to clean refuse from the previous day).
Likewise, local authorities heading colony institutions such as the councils seem to have failed their residents. “They have failed to provide or locate a place for garbage disposal,” he said.
Several years ago, there was an initiative from the municipal to place special garbage disposal bins in major locations. In true Naga style, most of this facility has been damaged, stolen, relocated or simply ‘disappeared.’
“Every colony has its own council; they cannot provide for bins,” Lonchar said.
Another problem feeding the growing menace of waste disposal in the city is the citizen’s apathy – or ignorance – to the damage polythene bags inflict on the environment. Citizens conveniently pack waste materials and simply discard them. The drain near Holy Cross which the municipal workers cleared was literally clogged thick with polythene bags of all kind, manner, size and color – all packed garbage. That explained the longevity of the filthy drain.
Almost every drain in the city is packed thick and black with non-degradable materials comprising primarily plastic materials.
“It’s (polythene bags) the only ones they have in the shops; they don’t have paper bags like they use to give in the 80s,” Arinaro, a teacher explained, as she heaved her bag of ‘Uncle Chips’ and biscuits from a shop near the Plaza junction.
‘We don’t have other bags except polythene bags,’ a grocery storekeeper manning a store near the City Tower responded suspiciously, in Hindi, when this reporter asked.
For now the onus is on the ignorant citizens.