Waste is the unwanted material produced directly or indirectly by human activities. If not managed properly, waste can leave adverse effects on environment and human health. Solid waste is any solid material that has apparently no further use by human beings. Municipal solid waste (MSW) consist of all the waste of residential areas such as garbage’s, plastics, e-appliances, paper bags, glass pieces, and paints etc. my home land Gilgit-Baltistan is geographically a mountain environment with scarce land resource having a population of 1,441,523 individuals (The News). Owing to population explosion, over past decades, the quantity of municipal solid waste in Gilgit city has been growing steadily. Population alone is not the key factor, rather it is accompanied by lifestyle of people, increase in use of disposable packaging material and excessive use of plastic for packing. Local government of Gilgit-Baltistan has had the responsibility for collecting and disposing of municipal solid waste. Unfortunately the government of Gilgit-Baltistan has not taken any proper step for the solid waste disposal. Although some community based organizations like, Zulfiqar Abad Area Development Organization (ZADO), Community Environmental Organization (ECO), Young Environmental Society (YES), are trying their best on community level to minimize the solid waste to some extent.
It is still difficult to managed solid waste due to financial crises and technical expertise. ZADO has placed some stationary containers in different areas of Gilgit, like upper JUTYAL, Zulfiq1ar Abad, and in the vicinity of KHOMAR Gilgit. After complete filling of theses containers municipal committee takes the filled containers for open damping in vicinity areas of KONADAS Gilgit. Theses waste consists of many toxic material and other harmful chemicals. Number of dogs, birds and vermin’s are gather around these waste, which destroyed the aesthetic beauty of river side. When it rains, these toxic chemicals directly mixed with rain water and percolates toward the Gilgit River. When this waste, which is combination of organic and inorganic waste, containing large amount of nitrogen and phosphorus, enters into river, biological oxygen demand BOD will increase, which directly effects on marine population of fish and the whole aquatic system. Decomposition of the organic matter consume large amount of oxygen, so BOD level increase. This organic matter is also responsible of eutrofication. Eutrofication means enriching of organic material and accumulation of nutrients which increase the biological productivity. These nutrients gradually increase the rate of algae in rivers and lakes. When these algae die and decomposed, they consume large amount of oxygen due to which fish population become decrease.
Waste disposal methods in Gilgit City:
The unscientific method and also lack of technical expertise and equipments, municipal committee of GB use only open damping for solid waste, and burn them to reduce its volume. The town generates around 43 tons of solid waste, which is disposed of in an unscientific way by the Gilgit Municipal Committee GMC
Open damping is the most wide spread method of solid waste disposal in Gilgit city. The uncontrolled disposal of waste without any proper management causes the leachate, odor problem, dust, or attraction of vermin. Uncontrolled open damping on the river side of KONADAS, and near to double bridge CHENARBAAG and behind the Col-Hassan market, has resulted in the degradation of valuable land resource and creation of long term environmental , aquatic and human health problems. Open damping allows wind to spill the waste on the road and to the streets. Furthermore due to incomplete burning of solid waste, a cloud of smock is produce that covers the whole Gilgit city, which can be seen from miles away. In order to minimize the pollution by solid waste we need to adopt the modern techniques such as (recovery, reduced, reuse, recycle)
- EPA Environmental protection agency of Gilgit-Baltistan must implement the laws and policies for solid waste management.
- EPA, declaring it as a national problem, instead they should deal it as local problem.
- Try to address the roots sources of the pollution.
- Try to prevent the pollution at its main source.
- Develop products which have lass toxic effect on environment.
- Conserve natural resources through CBNRM or through governmental agencies and through NGOs.
- Use paper bags instead of plastic bags, because plastic is more toxic and insoluble which causing more pollution as compared to paper.
- Develop CBOs community based organization to sole environmental problems in your areas.
- Protect plants and increase plantation.
Students of Karakorum International University (KIU) have joined Young Environmental Society (YES) and are involved in community services to promote a green environment in Gilgit. They are playing a major role in keeping the environment of Gilgit-Baltistan clean and safe.