A report on the composite plan on environmental issues facing the Kullu and Manali areas, which was drawn up by the Himachal pollution board last year, pointed out waste management schemes were not receiving sufficient financial support from the state government.
It proposed adoption of a "cluster approach" in which all urban local bodies and areas that have untapped potential to attract tourists potential are clubbed.
Owing to urbanization several new urban and suburban areas are springing up in the Kullu and Manali valley even outside the municipal limits. The report stated an estimated 3 million tourists visited the valley and, in the next few years around 5 million visitors are expected to come to the area every year. "Considering the couple of day occupancy, they will generate approximately 10 mt of solid waste scattered around scores of small tourist destinations in the valley," it added.
The report recommended the integrated solid waste management system, calling it compatible with waste management in providing a framework for the development of a sustainable municipal solid waste service.
The report also raised serious concerns over the existing water quality of the Beas and Parvati rivers, which it said was deteriorating due to gaps in the sewage system. Based on the different monthly and quarterly indicators between April 2013 to October 2013, it stated the stretch of the Beas from downstream Kullu to Sarabhai was more vulnerable to bacteriological pollution.
"The value of Coliform bacteria- commonly used bacterial indicator of sanitary quality of foods and water, reached beyond 500 most probable numbers (MPN) per 100 milliliters," it added.
Attributing problem to the sewage issue, the report said main reasons are open defecation along the Beas by the floating population and in slum areas, leakage of septic tanks through drains and kitchen waste water floating out in the drains. However, it also said the quality is not worsen but above issued need to be checked in time.
The report also highlighted the poor fiscals of the urban local bodies. It stated the financial health of the Kullu municipal council and the Bhuntar nagar panchayat was critical and not able to live up to the expectations of the National Green Tribunal.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, replying to a question by Manali MLA Govind Thakur in the legislative assembly on Monday, said several issued pertaining to the matter were still pending with the tribunal. "The government will wait its decision of tribunal before initiating any step," he added.