New Delhi: Every year around July Amarnath cave, a Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva situated in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pahalgam, opens for pilgrims. This year the journey will start from July 1 and go on till August 15. The Amarnath cave is one of the highly revered temples and witnesses lakhs of devotees (2.85 lakh in 2018: Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board) making an annual pilgrimage to the holy cave despite challenging mountainous terrain.
This year in addition to introducing QR coding of Yatra permit forms, the mobile application for pilgrims to access all the details, the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) is taking additional care for proper garbage collection and disposal, construction of toilets and maintenance of sewage treatment plants, to ensure better sanitation during the Yatra.
This is not the first time SASB is focusing on sanitation arrangements on the Yatra route. We have been doing it for years, it is just we supplement it every year, says Anup Kumar Soni, Additional Chief Executive Officer, SASB, while speaking to NDTV.
Governor, Jammu & Kashmir, and Chairman of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, Satya Pal Malik, was briefed about the sanitation provisions being made for this year’s yatra earlier this week.
Three key arrangements for swachh Amarnath Yatra 2019 by Shrine Board include:
1. Installation of 2,850 toilets and 516 baths in the Yatra area.
2. Placement of 150 bottle catchers and 30 bio bins.
Explaining the concept of bottle catchers and bio bins, Mr Soni says,
Bottle catchers are devices to attract the pilgrims to discard their plastic water bottles in those bottle catchers only. The plastic bottles are shredded so that they don’t pollute the surrounding environment. On the other hand, bio bins are installed for the collection of organic waste like mule dung. These bins have microorganisms that convert this waste into compost.
3. 1,515 color-coded bins to be installed for on source waste segregation. Three kinds of bins will be placed for segregation of biomedical, bio-degradable and non-bio-degradable wastes during the Yatra.
While yellow colour bin will be used for biomedical waste, green has been kept for bio-degradable and blue for non-bio-degradable waste, says Mr Soni.
For waste management, it has been decided that all solid waste generated during Yatra shall be managed by Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA), Sonamarg Development Authority (SDA) and the Shrine Board in their respective areas of responsibility.
To ensure effective segregation of waste into biodegradable and non-biodegradable and then its disposal, Deputy Commissioners of Ganderbal and Anantnag districts, CEOs of PDA and SDA and General Manager (Sanitation), SASB have been asked to keep a close watch.
Taking the sanitation measures a step ahead, SASB has also planned for the scientific treatment of waste water. For the same, two decentralised sewage treatment plants (STPs) have been commissioned at the Baltal and Nunwan Base Camps.
While the STP at Nunwan Base Camp has the capacity of treating 300 kiloliter of waste per day, Baltal STP which is based on a Greece technology is capable of handling 600 kiloliter of waste per day, says Mr Soni.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.