Major health hazards are awaiting Jammu as state government is failing to implement environmental rules. Serious environmental threat is expected from untreated biomedical waste and illegal brick kilns.
According to a news report by the Daily Excelsior, there are around 763 health institutions including diagnostic centres across the region. Out of an average 856 kg biomedical waste only around 300 kg is being treated daily, the rest 556 kg of which is going untreated. In fact, only 350 health health institutions in Jammu, Kathua, Samba, Udhampur and Reasi districts of Jammu region while as there is no scientific treatment facility for remaining 413 health institutions.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, which provide for regulatory frame work for management of bio-medical waste, were first published by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests in the year 1998.
Even the National Green Tribunal, NGT, has observed that collection, transportation and disposal of bio-medical waste by different health institutions in Jammu and Kashmir was not in accordance with the law.
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Adding to air pollution in the region, there are 269 brick kilns in Jammu division with maximum concentration in Jammu, Kathua and Samba districts but none has obtained environmental clearance despite the fact that in view of EIA Notification of Union Ministry of Environment and Forests such a clearance is mandatory.
Moreover, most of the brick kilns have obtained stay orders from the courts when the concerned authorities initiated legal action against some of them but no serious efforts have been made for vacation of stay.
According to the news report there was political intervention behind allowing the brick kilns to function without mandatory clearance before their owners obtained stay orders.