Polluted flows the Indus near Choglamsar Bridge

By Padma Angmo Leh, Apr 14, 2015
Leh :
Indus River which is popularly called as ‘Singay Ltsangspo’ or  ‘Sindhu Nadhi’  in Ladakh  is one of the major source which provide drinking water to the people of Leh city and its surrounding areas like Choglamsar, Agling and Spituk. More than that it also provides water for the villages like Shey, Chuchot, Stakna for agriculture.  In the past decades, the water of this river is polluted by the people. The very river that is the life source of many is fast turning into a heap of Garbage near Choglamsar Zampa (Bridge).
Most of the river's pollution is due to the careless disposal of garbage directly into the river, all the way from Choglamsar Bridge till Spituk.
During the winter season the water level of the River goes down and these garbage mount up near river banks and freeze along with water, making it an unpleasant view and during the summer season it accumulated at the river banks which not only stinks but also provide a habitat to breed of harmful bacteria and flies. Use of such water for drinking purposes, without appropriate treatment, would result in water-borne diseases.
Zakir Hussian, Hotelier (Zampa) said that cleanliness is most important to lead a healthy life which is worst in Leh and Choglamsar because of the irresponsible shopkeepers and people. We can see the present condition of the market of Choglamsar Bridge how much it is polluted. People dump the garbage near Zampa that are carried away by the winds and spread into the whole markets thus polluting the market also. Sometimes people dump their garbage in the street of the market which block the canal besides the roads and get freeze along with water for which no one step forward to clean it. We must keep dustbin and use it to keep our environment clean. The administrator will not take responsibility as they already told that this area does not come under Municipal Committee.
Indus River is polluted by these main sources: Dumping of waste products ( like waste food, bottles, wrappers of snacks and polythene Bags which takes long time to decompose)   into the water. It poses a great threat to both human lives as well as the ecosystem.
The quality of the Indus's water is steadily worsening near Choglamsar Zampa. Now, not only is the water unfit for drinking, but it would also be harmful to use for agricultural purposes.
By washing clothes and vehicles which contaminate the water by mixing of its toxic lubricants thereby deoxidizing the water from which lots of living organism gets killed.
The pollution of the Indus River needs to be strictly controlled. 
Phuntsog Dorjey, Sarpanch of Choglamsar Village (A) said, “The pollution of Indus River is becoming a big problem for us, as water is supplied to the people of Leh for drinking purposes after filtration. The garbage is dumped by the people nearby the river of the bridge which is a huge problem and it becomes easy for them to dump the garbage from the bridge.  One of the main reasons is that it is near to the market of Choglamsar. Hardly any steps have been taken to protect the River. The council did a cleanup drive last year prior to Kalachakra and meeting was called to tackle the issue. And in the meeting it was decided that a fence will be put up so that people will not be able to dump garbage there. Unfortunately, the matter is still not solved as people are still dumping the heaps of garbage there. It is getting polluted so we must take some action against it and protect it from pollution.
“The pollution in the Indus is not a problem of Choglamsar only as the water is use by the people of Leh city for various purposes, and if we asked the administration to take action, they respond that, ‘the area does not come under Municipal Committee and Choglamsar belongs to rural area.”
From the Panchayat level, we tried our best and also advice the people not to throw garbage in the river but nobody listens as there is no other option to dispose of the garbage. If they continue to dump the garbage in the Indus River then the day is not too far when there will be a scarcity of drinking water for the people, animals, and even plants in Ladakh. It is my personal request to all the people, “Do not throw garbage in the water, use dustbin and save our environment from water pollution”. 
Saif Asim, Shopkeeper (Zampa) expressed that the dumping of wastage in the Indus River is a major problem of Choglamsar as there is no other option to dispose of the garbage. Last year Municipality provided us a vehicle to pick up the waste products for a short period, for which all the shopkeepers collected money and paid. ‘During night people bring their garbage in the vehicle and dump here. During the summer season it stinks and the same water is used for drinking purposes. There is no one to tackle this issue and to take responsibility for this problem everyone is engaged in their own personal work. 
So What now?
A solution, however, seems far away with gross negligence, ignorance and stupidity pouring from every sect of our society from Government, the people and, of course, who are dumping their garbage in the Indus River.
Indus river pollution is getting seriously bad (as you may have now noticed) and something needs to be done now. The river would remain a non-starter if the root causes of rising pollution are not addressed and innovative methods not deployed.