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Assam to become cleanest State: CM

Dispur to create exclusive department and set up institute for waste management

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Sept 9: Aiming to make Assam the cleanest State in the country, the government has decided to create an exclusive department as well as set up an educational institute to devise effective scientific means to dispose of solid and other wastes.

The announcement was made by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Saturday before the National Green Tribunal (NGT). Speaking at the inaugural function of the 2-day long National Conference on Waste Disposal and Management organized by NGT in the city, Sonowal said India is now struggling with the problem of huge buildup of waste and its hazardous impact on environment.  He said the situation calls for smart handling of waste, which involves processing and recycling as per the latest technology. 

Making a fervent appeal to the youth to realize the hazardous impact of plastics and non-biodegradable objects on environment, Sonowal announced that his government will soon set up Assam Institute of Waste Management and a separate department to look after waste disposal and management. 

“As Guwahati aims to become the hub of economic and tourism activities in the next few years, our government will strive to ensure that ecology and economy coexist. We want to take Assam into high growth trajectory and usher in a period faster development, but not at the cost of the environment. We want to make Assam the cleanest State in the country,” Sonowal asserted, while informing about Dispur’s initiative to plant 10 crore saplings that started on World Environment Day on June 5 to increase the green cover in the State.   

Pointing to the tremendous pressure on environment with ever-growing population and higher living standards, with new settlements burgeoning and industries being established to meet growing needs for survival — the Chief Minister said waste disposal or management requires its management from initiation to final removal.

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Swachhta Hi Sewa” clarion call that resulted in the visionary campaign of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Sonowal thanked the PM for instilling a competitive spirit among cities to become clean and turning it into a mass movement. 

Asserting that a clean State is more hospitable to its visitors and subsequently attracts greater investment, Sonowal hoped that the NGT conference will be able to come up with solutions to waste management challenges faced by modern cities and help the government formulate policies accordingly. 

Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Chairman of NGT Justice Swatanter Kumar said that it is the collective responsibility of all sections of society to protect the environment and take steps for scientific waste management. NGT is striving to make the country a better place for future generations by preserving nature and biodiversity of the country, he said, adding that waste disposal and management is now one of the greatest challenges faced by India. He said even the World Bank has warned India will face an ecological disaster in case it fails to chalk out a roadmap at the earliest to effectively dispose of waste.     

Supreme Court judges Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde and Justice UU Lalit, Chief Justice of Royal Kingdom of Bhutan Lyonpo Tsering Wangchuk, Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court Ajit Singh, State Minister for Forest and Environment Pramila Rani Brahma among others also spoke on the occasion and dwelt on the importance of and challenges involved in waste management.