Haridwar: National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday had ordered a penalty of 50,000 on anyone found littering within 500 metres from the river’s banks. But people seemed to be clueless of the directions and kept dumping trash into the Ganga river and its adjoining areas on Friday.
The locals, traders and Kanwar pilgrims visiting the river left polyethene bags, leftover eatables and other wasted items in and around the river. Kanwar pilgrims who come from Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan to take a dip in the Ganga were seen throwing bamboo sticks into the river, reports HT.
When the NGT order was brought to his notice, Kumar-who threw polyethene bags into the river- simply said: “Such directives mean nothing to us. Kanwariyas need to leave their old bamboo sticks (used to carry Ganga water), their pilgrimage attire and other materials in the Ganga at Haridwar. It’s a matter of tradition,” he said.
There are eateries beside Ganga edges, which also contribute to the pollution. Bhavesh Saini, who owns a stall at Pantdeep Ganga ghat, said he was not informed about the Rs 50,000 penalty.
“For the last few years, we have been dumping leftover food and waste just adjacent to the Ganga ghat. But we wouldn’t do that if the civic authorities provided us with a garbage bin,” he said.
Mayor Manoj Garg said the municipal corporation had spent the last three years trying to ensure that people do not dump garbage in the river. “We will soon start sensitising people through awareness drives, making them understand how they are harming an ancient river that’s been accorded a status equivalent to their own mother,” he added.
The NGT had passed a similar order in 2015 to ban the use of plastic products along the river’s Gaumukh-Hardiwar stretch. “Nothing much can be done about this unless the government bans the manufacture and sale of polythene items,” said Mahanagar Vyapar Mandal president Sunil Shetty.