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Himachal govt orders inquiry into video showing plastic waste flowing in Ashwani Khadh

The video, shared by social organisation Healing Himalayas was shot near Neri village, a waste dumping site at Salogara on Shimla-Parwanoo highway.

india Updated: Jul 19, 2018 20:12 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Healing Himalayas,Neri village,Ashwani Khadh
Plastic waste flowing in Ashwani Khad.(HT File Photo)

A video showing heaps of trash flowing in the Ashwani Khad has gone viral on social media, once again raising the issue of pollution of water bodies in Himachal Pradesh due to the absence of a proper waste management system in the state.

The video, which was shot near Neri village, a waste dumping site at Salogara on Shimla-Parwanoo highway, has also drawn the attention of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that has taken a suo motto notice of the issue and directed the Himachal Pollution Control Board chairman member secretary to send a detailed report on the video .

The state government too has constituted a seven-member panel, headed by environmental engineer SK Shandil, to order ascertain its veracity. Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control member secretary RK Pruthi said, “We have asked the committee to submit its reports within two days. We will be sending the report to the government shortly.”

The video showing trash, including plastic bottles, food wrappers, thermocol glasses and cans, flowing through the khad was shared by ‘Healing Himalayas’, a social organisation. The video has been shared more than 57,000 times. As per reports, the trash had trickled down from the nullahs and streams feeding Ashwani Khad, which is the main source of drinking water for Solan town.

Pardeep Sangwan, who heads the ‘Healing Himalayas’ organisation, said, “Individuals, tourists, organisations and industries are all stakeholders for what has happened in Ashwani Khad. The dying sense of belongingness towards the Himalayas among indigenous communities is also a concern. We must look for small scale solutions and the nip the problem in the bud.”

Actress Juhi Chawla also expresses concern

Bollywood actress Juhi Chawla also shared the viral video on Twitter. Tagging chief minister Jai Ram Thakur in the tweet, the actress wrote, “Plastic river of Himalayas. This video was shot near Neri village in Solan on July 10. The river was entirely covered in plastic after heavy rain in Shimla. Our mountains are under intense ecological pressure.”

Why pollution of Ashwani Khud is worrying

Ashwani Khadh is the main drinking water source for Solan town. Till 2015, it used to supply water to Shimla town as well.But the supply was suspended after contamination from sewage treatment plant led to a jaundice outbreak in Shimla. As many as 34 persons died and scores of people were taken ill during the outbreak. When the water crisis hit Shimla in May this year, the government drew a long-term plan and decided to use the water from Ashwani Khad for drinking water supply in Shimla. The irrigation and public health department also chalked out a plan to use ultraviolet rays technology for treating the water that was declared unsafe for drinking by National Institute of Virology. Of the total 304 metric tonnes of waste generated in the entire state on a daily basis, 54 metric tonne is generated from Shimla town alone. Some portions of waste generated is treated at the energy plant in Cambodia while a large portion of it is dumped in nullahs. The waste dumped in nullahs trickles downstream Ashwani Khadh during the rainy season.

First Published: Jul 19, 2018 18:02 IST