Piles of garbage at the MMC dumping site in Mokokchung village. (Morung Photo)
Mokokchung | June 4
The problem of waste dumping and waste management in Mokokchung has been raised, discussed and written about for quite some years now. The Morung Express also featured an exclusive story about the same in 2015 when the Mokokchung Municipal Council (MMC) dumping site was located in Ungma village, Mokokchung.
In 2016, the residents of Ungma demanded that the dumping site be shifted by the end of the year. Subsequently, the MMC shifted the dumping site to Mokokchung Village. “When the MMC approached the Mokokchung Village Council we thought it was our duty to co-operate because the need for a dumping site is for the entire Mokokchung population,” said Kilenyanger Atsongchanger, member, Mokokchung Village Council.
“During the initial stage of the dumping, it was decided that the wastes will be disposed properly by segregating the wastes and taking care of the surrounding areas. However the segregation of waste did not happen nor was care given to protect the surrounding areas. This has now given rise to a lot of environmental issues in and around the MMC dumping site,” Kilenyanger added.
The MMC dumping site is located some 10kms away from Mokokchung town where there are no human settlements.
“The area around the dumping site is free of settlers at the moment, but the dumping site is surrounded by streams, rivers and forest vegetation and it is having a serious impacts on farmers and wildlife and habitat,” said Imchatsung, President, Mokokchung Village Students’ Union (MVSU).
In 2019 the Mokokchung villagers selected the area around the dumping site for jhum cultivation. A farmer, L Kari Kichu, narrated about the impact of the dumping site on the farmers. “We could not sit still at any time of the day because of the amount of large sized flies that irritated and hovered about everywhere. We could not drink the water from the stream that flows through the dumping site and plastic bags would just fly around the field especially during the windy season,” he said.
“It was a difficult year for us. The same area would come under cultivation in the next five or six years, but I don’t think the area will be cultivable for the next fifty or sixty years,” he further added.
Looking at the intensity of the waste problem and its impact, the MVSU has recorded a video highlighting the MMC dumping site and its impact and is set to release the video on June 5. “There is generally a lack of responsibility towards waste in the community and it is high time proper methods of waste disposal are undertaken. The citizens of Mokokchung need to know that the problem of waste management is a serious issue,” said Talikumzuk Longkumer, Vice-President, MVSU.
Speaking to The Morung Express, MMC Administrator Shashank Pratap Singh said that acquiring a permanent land for waste dumping was an issue. The land is usually acquired on lease and because it is not a permanent property of the MMC, it becomes difficult to build any permanent waste processing unit or infrastructure, he said.
“We are in the lookout for a permanent land. Once we acquire it, we will be able to set up processing plants which will help reduce the waste management problem. The village councils have been very co-operative and generous through all these years and we are hopeful that collectively we will be able to find a solution to this waste problem,” he said.
Singh also highlighted that the MMC has taken up a pilot project on Bio-waste Composting Units and if successful, the project will help reuse bio-waste that are generated in Mokokchung town. He also mentioned about the plastic baling machine that has been installed and is in full utilization.
With the world celebrating June 5 as World Environment Day under the theme ‘Restoring ecosystem,’ Mokokchung needs to stop losing more ecosystem to waste landfills and it needs to act upon the various ecosystems it has lost to waste dumping.
“Keeping our locality and homes clean is not enough. We also need to look at the way the wastes we produced are dumped, managed and segregated. We need to be aware of the waste management problems in our town. We cannot go on destroying one ecosystem after the other,” said R Sunep Pongen, an executive member of the MVSU.