Nagaland Chief Secretary leads efforts to tackle environmental crisis

Plastic pollution of Doyang reservoir (Photo: X @DC_Wokha)

Taking note of the serious environmental hazard caused by poor and improper disposal of wastes in the upstream of Doyang dam reservoir in Wokha district, Nagaland Chief Secretary, J Alam chaired an emergency meeting at the Civil Secretariat, Kohima on 7 June 2024.

Chief Secretary Alam emphasized the urgency of examining and implementing specific prevention and mitigation measures to clear the debris and solid waste collected in the upstream area of the Doyang riverbed. He stressed the need to adopt sustainable methods and to carry out this mission in close coordination with the district administration and relevant departments. He discussed the immediate measures required to clean up the accumulated waste and instructed the departments to develop medium- and long-term strategies to prevent future deposits.

The Chief Secretary also directed the Deputy Commissioner of Wokha to convene a meeting with stakeholders and to conduct an immediate field assessment upstream of the dam to ascertain the quality of the debris accumulation. An incident action plan must be submitted. He urged the initiation of a mission-mode cleanup of the debris at Doyang Dam within a week and called for proper documentation of the entire process. The exercise must involve various departments, fishermen, local villagers, and NGOs.

Chief Secretary Alam expressed satisfaction that all concerned agencies and members of the NSDMA executive body were present at the meeting. He reiterated the need for serious deliberation on how best to address the problem in the future.

Deputy Commissioner of Wokha, Ajit Kumar Ranjan, IAS, attended the meeting via video conference. He reported that floating solid wastes, mostly plastics, had accumulated and piled up at the banks of Doyang Dam Lake, especially below Pangti village, and in Old and New Changsu. He noted that while the operation of Doyang Dam was unaffected, the waste harmed aquatic life, degraded the aesthetics of tourist sites, and necessitated immediate cleanup actions involving locals and relevant departments.

NEEPCO State Nodal Officer, Er John Zeliang, CGM, also attended the meeting virtually. He explained that heavy rains in May 2024 washed the debris down to the Doyang Dam. However, the dam’s power house is equipped with a trash rack that prevents certain sizes of floating debris from entering the main reservoir. Zeliang suggested that it is crucial to locate and collect the gathered debris before it disperses and to dispose of it properly. It was also decided that NEEPCO would reimburse the expenditure incurred by the NSDMA.

During the meeting, the Chief Secretary stressed the need to strictly ban single-use plastics, especially water bottles under one liter, and to reinforce the use of paper bags. Departments of Water Resources, Tourism, Police, Urban & Municipal Affairs, and Fisheries also discussed their resources, manpower status, and suggestions.

Area Team constituted to remove plastic waste at Doyang reservoir

Deputy Commissioner, Wokha, AjitRanjan, IAS has constituted an Area Team for taking up the task of cleaning and removal of plastic waste at Doyang reservoir, Wokha on mission mode within 2-3 days.

The Area Team has been assigned to assess the spots of solid waste pollution by physically visiting them and the amount of waste. It has been asked to assess the resources required for cleaning on an immediate basis and the machinery required.

Further, the team has been asked to identify the place where the cleaned-up waste can be collected and the disposal mechanism, and submit the action plan. The tasks are to be completed by 7th June 2024.

Based on the action plan, the execution shall begin on 8th June and will be completed in 2-3 days time. EAC Sungro, Pukha Lam has been assigned as the overall coordinator and area commander for the task which is to be taken up in mission mode.

The team consists of Pukha, EAC Sungro; Jonji, District Disaster Management Officer; SDRF District Commandant; District Tourism Officer; Executive Engineer, Water Resources Department; District Fishery Officer; Divisional Forest Officer representative; an dd Representative from North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO).

Mokokchung Times

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