Civic trash dump spoils Teesta

The Telegraph

Kalimpong, Dec. 3: People living in villages along the Teesta and regular anglers on the river have accused the Kalimpong municipality of contaminating its water by dumping solid wastes on the sly.

An inspection by The Telegraph seemed to suggest that some amount of dumping is indeed taking place in the river. For instance, the riverbed below Chitrey, 14km from here, was littered with plastic bottles and other wastes. At places along the river, small packets containing garbage were also seen floating.

Worryingly, used syringes and other medical wastes were seen scattered on the riverbanks. “The trash is brought in trucks in the early hours and then dumped in the river between Labarbote and Melli,” said a resident of Chitrey.

Gautam Tamang, a resident of Gumbahatta here and a frequent angler on the Teesta, said only a handful of fish species were found in the river because of contamination. “The river used to have different varieties of fish, but now you will hardly get anything other than katley (carp-like species) and asala (trout),” he said.

Municipal authorities refused comment.

The civic body has been struggling to dispose of solid waste generated in the town ever since the forced closure of its old dumpyard at Bhalukhop on June 5 last year. People living in and around Bhalukhop stopped the civic body from using the dumpyard after landslides had started taking place rather too frequently in the area.

The municipality is in the process of setting up a modern solid waste management facility at Lower Bhalukhop.

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