Local environmentalist Nicholas J Kharnami aka RJ Nicky feels that political parties and candidates should accord priority to waste management lest Shillong, the ‘Scotland of the East,’ becomes a dumping ground of garbage.
“Once the new government is formed, I think we need to revamp the entire policy with regard to the environment in our state,” he added.
Kharnami’s concern is not misplaced given the haphazard dumping of garbage in some pockets of the city by the citizens.
During a recent visit to Umiam via the Mawkynroh-Mawiong bypass, the sight of garbage dumped along the road made him stop midway, to highlight this lack of civic sense among the citizens.
“It was only recently that I, along with members of the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) Mawlai circle and Seng Samla of Mawiong Rim and Mawlai Mawkynroh had conducted a cleaning drive and held an awareness programme but it is sad to see that when I was passing through this way, I saw a heap of garbage being dumped by irresponsible people,” he said.
Expressing concern over the alarming dumping of garbage on the roadsides, Kharnami said it has been 50 years since Meghalaya attained statehood, but people still do not seem to appreciate this simple yet crucial responsibility.
“Let’s not talk about the pride of the state, the serious health hazard for the state or how it is impacting our ecosystem but let’s talk about how to raise awareness among the young people,” he asserted.
Stressing the need for a concerted effort of all stakeholders in tackling the problem, Kharnami said, “Let this not be the government’s intervention alone but also that of the district council, the Dorbar Shnong and other associations.”
The city has been swiftly transitioning into a concrete jungle, a sight that is far from what it used to look like back in the day which earned for it the sobriquet of ‘Scotland of the East’ thanks to its serenity and lush green surroundings; the rampant dumping of garbage has compounded the city’s woes.