by Sohail Lone, PhD
Solid waste management in Jammu & Kashmir especially plastic waste management is one of the most important services for maintaining the quality of life in the rural and urban areas for better standards of health and hygiene. It becomes even more essential for the Kashmir valley in order to preserve its natural and scenic beauty for which it is known in the whole world. Looking to the rapid urbanization and growing population, this sector needs immediate attention. J&K being a popular tourist destination, issues pertaining to solid waste management are rising and need to be addressed on priority basis. According to the estimates, J&K produced roughly around 27,870,000 kgs of plastic in the year 2017-18 and it is increasing with each passing year. Although, the J&K State Govt. claims that it has several action plans for the solid waste management in J&K, but nothing actually is visible on the ground. Most of these action plans actually face the shortage of funds and hence never implemented on the ground. The municipal corporations and municipal committees in the state mostly collect the waste plastics and dump at the designated dumping sites without any segregation and separation. There are heaps of garbage lying at these dumping sites without any proper disposal mechanism and thus it becomes hazardous for the environment as well as the human health. Most of these plastics are single-use and thus very less quantity is actually recycled. Keeping the above in consideration, there is a great scope for plastic waste management in J&K by employing locally managed decentralized circular economy (LMDCE), where the local communities can actually take full control of their plastic wastes and the benefits can also be shared by the community. Engineers for Sustainable Energy Solutions (ESES), a non-profit organization based in the United States by providing technology based solutions and in collaboration with our local partners can help us to realize the dream of better managing the plastic wastes by converting them into clean cooking fuel which can help improve the economy of the local communities and also help to keep our environment safe from the plastic wastes.
ESES has recently partnered with BRIDGE Foundation in J&K to begin addressing the plastic waste challenges through LMDCE. Together, we will work to implement Trash-to-Tank technology to convert plastic waste into a liquid fuel that can be uses as a substitute for diesel fuel or kerosene.