There is just one dustbin for every 4,333 residents of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, according to data provided by officials of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC).
According to Ishtiaq Ahmad Shah, Joint Commissioner in the SMC’s Sanitisation department, the SMC has placed about three hundred dustbins across the city of more than 1.3 million residents.
The issue was flagged by an Indian journalist on a visit to Kashmir last week. Kanika Gupta took to Twitter to complain that she “Carried a rotten orange in my bag for 10 kms, 5 of which, I walked. I saw more CRPF vans than dustbins. Where the fuck is a dustbin?.” She had also tweeted a picture of the rotting fruit in her palm.
Kashmiris responding to her tweet also pointed out the public’s own indifference. “The mindset is we don’t need dustbins because we have lakes,” a user tweeted along with a picture of waste dumped in a water body.
The mindset is we don't need dustbins because we have lakes pic.twitter.com/Eq5Add6FJM
— Irfan ahmad shah (@shahirfan914) February 10, 2021
Shah, however, said that the distribution of the dustbin depends upon the population of the area and about thirty dustbins were placed in busy areas around Lal Chowk, the commercial hub of the city.
In 2018, the SMC had installed color coded pairs of dustbins — blue for non-biodegradable waste and green for biodegradable waste — in various commercial hubs including Lal Chowk, Hari Singh High street, Boulevard , Dalgate, Karan Nagar areas of Srinagar.
However, Shah said that the public didn’t use the bins as per the instructions and rued the public’s lack of awareness and indifference towards proper waste disposal. The SMC, said Shah, is working hard to make Srinagar “a smart and a clean city.”