GUWAHATI, Dec 19 - “The serious health hazards posed by bad waste management practices can be effectively minimised with a careful segregation of the types of waste and active participation of citizens in the entire waste management process.”
This observation was made by renowned environmental policy advocate Almitra H Patel while delivering the 16th Dr Amitabh Chowdhury Memorial Lecture at the Rabindra Bhawan here today.
Speaking on the topic ‘Waste management for better health’, Patel laid stress on wise management of waste to avoid health risks.
She pointed out that a population of approximately one million individuals of Guwahati add 450 metric tonnes of waste each day to the West Boragaon dumping site, but less than one-tenth of that waste is processed by the compost plant at the site.
Informing the gathering of academicians, students and members of the legal fraternity about the dangers of daily release of the polluting black leachate into Guwahati’s groundwater as well as into the Deepor Beel, Patel narrated how the airless heap releases gas into the air, mainly methane, a greenhouse gas that increases global warming.
“Smoke-filled air spreads to affect everyone, especially children and the elderly,” she mentioned, emphasising segregation of plastic from the municipal solid waste and proper use of non-recyclable multi-layered packaging (MLP) in construction of durable roads. She also advocated decentralised waste processing.
Earlier, Dhiresh Narayan Chowdhury, father of Dr Amitabh Chowdhury delivered the welcome address. The memorial lecture was followed by an interactive session with Patel in which she said that instead of complaining about the lack of awareness among the people, people should first do their bit and lead by example for others.
The memorial lecture is organised every year to commemorate the birthday of Dr Amitabh Chowdhury, a promising cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon who met with an untimely death on September 10, 2003 at the young age of 33.
The trust, constituted to commemorate the virtuous qualities that Amitabh Chowdhury personified, has organised lectures on a number of socially relevant topics inviting some of the most renowned experts in their respective fields. Among those who have delivered the annual lecture so far are – JM Lyngdoh, Professor Yash Pal, Nalini Singh, Dr Ramchandra Guha, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Professor Subbanna Ayyappan and Montek Singh Ahluwalia.