Hornbill Festival a waste management nightmare?

Employees of Kripa Drop-In-Centre clean up the waste dumped outside the office door in Kohima. (Morung Photo)

Employees of Kripa Drop-In-Centre clean up the waste dumped outside the office door in Kohima. (Morung Photo)

Morung Express News
Kohima | December 7

The ongoing annual Hornbill Festival attempts to showcase the rich cultural heritage and traditions of the Nagas and is a “magnificent colour bomb,” as a tourist had recently described. However, there is another side of the coin— one that showcases lack of basic public behaviours, which has become an eyesore, and questions the very ‘values and ethics’ of a responsible individual.

Litter at the Heritage Village
The litter left behind after the fun and fervour in the Naga Heritage Village, Kisama speak a lot about the Naga society as a whole. The litter include plastics, empty beers cans and bottles, empty gutkha packets, sweet and chips packets etc. Recently, a citizen posted a video of the litter in the main arena, requesting the people to clean up their own wastes.

Speaking to The Morung Express, Deputy Director Tourism, Toka E Tuccumi who is also the Nodal Officer of the Hornbill Festival remarked that, “people come celebrate the festival, enjoy and then go.”

However, he said that’s where the real workforce of the tourism department comes in – cleaning the waste of the people, after the fun and fervour. Tuccummi said, “We have been educating and telling the people to keep it plastic free and garbage free, but sometimes it practically becomes impossible.”

“Our team at Kisama is working unceasingly behind the scene, cleaning the litter every evening and keep it clean for the next day,” he maintained.

Night carnival wastes
Similarly, the litter and waste dumped right in front of the Kripa Drop-In-Centre located in the main town, where the night carnival has been going on, is appalling.

As their office is located adjacent and connected to the footbridge, dumping of all kinds of wastes has been an everyday affair, according to Vikholie Yiese. However, the situation becomes even grimmer during the festival.

Finishing the morning hour cleanup in and around the office, he said, “every day we find all kinds of wastes in our main doorstep. But, at this time of festival, we even find urine, excreta, vomit, empty alcohol bottles, plastics, etc.”
“It is repulsive but we have to clean it every morning. We are so fed up now as it becomes worse during the Hornbill Festival,” he reiterated.

There is a lack of civic behavioural pattern is observed in all big or small events in the state, as even during the recently concluded Nagaland Olympic & Paralympic Games 2022 at IG Stadium, a similar story of rampant littering unfolded. 

Even the Nagaland Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio rightly said in a programme: ‘Nagas as persons, we are an educated society, but we are not a refined society,’ indicating the lack of civic sense among the people. He also commented that cleanliness drives should not be a one-time endeavour but should be inculcated as a ‘habit and way of life.’

Meanwhile, Kohima Chamber of Commerce & Industries (KCCI), Information and Publicity Secretary, Kevi Angami said, each stall at the night carnival is made to clean the litter and waste every night. 

As such, the collected waste is kept at a place, which is being picked up by the KMC in the morning. He further added that waste management and single use plastics are being regularly monitored in the night carnival.