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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

Garbage-burning issue: Central board raps state pollution control body to inaction in Wagholi

Move comes after complaint from Wagholi residents’ group.

pune Updated: May 22, 2018 17:36 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Residents have been raising the issue of garbage burning in Wagholi area for the past five years.
Residents have been raising the issue of garbage burning in Wagholi area for the past five years.(HT Photo)

Taking cognisance of the garbage burning issue, the central pollution control board (CPCB) has asked the Maharashtra pollution control board (MPCB) to seriously look into the issue of chronic garbage and plastic burning in Wagholi.

Members of the Wagholi housing societies association (WHSA) had complained to the central pollution control board alleging that the Pune metropolitan region development authority (PMRDA), local gram panchayat and even the Maharashtra pollution control board had turned a deaf ear to their pleas demanding an end to the garbage burning menace in the area.

The gram panchayat development officer, too, said that the situation in Wagholi was going out of hands due to rapid urbanisation. The official further maintained that paucity of funds was also acting as an obstacle for development in the area.

This is the third time the central pollution curbing authority has questioned the state board for not taking effective and long-term action against the violators in the recent past. The letter sent to member secretary of Maharashtra pollution control board specifically mentions the complaint of Wagholi housing societies association regarding the illegal dumping and burning of waste around residential houses in the area. The issue has been going on for years together, according the housing societies association.

The Wagholi housing societies association, in its complaint to the central pollution control board, had demanded action on grounds of polluted environments encircling Wagholi area for more than five years. There is a need to measure development and progress of an area and ensure the accountability of green environment rules. The government must focus on long-term investments that can vastly raise the quality of life for the future generations of urban residents of Wagholi, which is unfortunately not happening. 

“The area needs crores of rupees to be invested in commissioning waste treatment plans, massive tree plantation drives, solar energy plants, trash carrying vans, building roads and drainage infrastructure. All these years, all these issues were conveniently forgotten and only money was being made. No care and concern was shown towards the residents. As a result, we have reached a crucial juncture where the urban governance in Wagholi is almost collapsing with no solution from the state government, Pune metropolitan region development authority and local gram panchayat in sight. They are far away from thinking about the welfare of the residents,” the Wagholi housing societies association stated in its complaint. 

The village does not have any waste management plant with indiscriminate dumping resulting in choked drains, contaminated water supply and air pollution. These issues are leading the residents to an alarming situation. Representatives from 100 housing societies in Wagholi area have, time and again, drawn the Maharashtra pollution control board’s attention towards the recurrent garbage dumping and burning in areas surrounded by residential houses which is leading to serious health issues, including respiratory problems.

Besides, there are hundreds of stone crushing mines working round-the-clock, raising fine dust, thus causing serious health hazards, the representatives said. Residents have also started to believe that the Pune metropolitan region development authority and the local gram panchayat have failed miserably in preventing large-scale garbage dumping and burning in the area which has now become a colossal issue. 

Madhukar Date, Wagholi gram panchayat development officer, said, “We have tied up with a private firm M Plus wherein garbage will be converted into charcoal. The company will be investing the money and it will sell the byproducts to make up for the investment. We are providing five gunthas of land and electricity for the project,” he said. 


Wagholi housing societies association 

Wagholi housing societies association (WHSA) is the strongest citizens’ forum which was formed in the wake of a popular sentiment coming from residents of housing societies with the solitary motto of ‘making Wagholi a better place to live’, ensuring better coordination between authorities and residents, and encouraging office accountability. The association has been taking issues, like the rampant pollution, failure of urban governance and lack of vision on the part of the Pune metropolitan region development authority in carrying out development in Wagholi. The association maintains that prevention of corruption and lackadaisical attitude of the government was one of the main reasons behind the debacle of urban governance in Wagholi.

First Published: May 22, 2018 17:00 IST