How residents of a municipal dumping site learned the law to fight back

Dear all: With immense pride and delight I share an article written by our Program Manager @vimalkalavadiya and community paralegal (enviro-legal coordinator) Shvetangini Patel who works with Ujjas Mahila Sangathan, a women’s organisation working in the area that has recently collaborated with Centre for Policy Research (CPR)-Namati Environment Justice program.

The article is about the problem of nuisance, discomfort and risk of disease outbreaks faced by the inhabitants of Meghpar village in Kutch, Gujarat that has been turned into a site to dump the waste of Gandhidham, a nearby town.

The article highlights the importance of locating the problem in shortfalls in compliance of environmental laws. The article provides a detailed account of steps taken to get the concerned government officials to make a visit to the site. It describes how Shvetangini, neither deterred by the limitations of her women clients in terms of their old age and lack of literacy, nor acting as an ‘expert’ for them, innovated a game to make them understand the provisions of the Municipal Solid Waste Rules, 2000.

The exercise helped to the extent that when faced with lame excuses by the officials of the Pollution Control Board for not acting, the women pointed to the relevant clauses of the rules that not just authorize the board to take action but also stipulate what action to take.

Although the site is still in operation in the same manner (despite a show cause notice issued by the board), the article ends by drawing our attention to the perseverance of these women to fight the illegality and get the desired remedy.

We look forward to your thoughts, feedback and reactions.

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That’s a great article - thanks so much for sharing and congrats @vimalkalavadiya on the published article!

I am struck by the photographs accompanying the article including the one below - it can be so sad to see animals and garbage coexisting in the same space, and that carcasses are just dumped and left to rot on the ground.

From the article:

An official questioned, “How can we ask the cow not to enter the dumping area?” to which one of the women responded, “Agreed we can’t, but we can surely have a fence as required by law, so that they don’t stray away and eat the waste.”

Seems like a no brainer to me!

I am so glad these women have been able to use the law to stand up to the authorities. I hope soon we’ll hear an update here on the case that the dump has been cleaned up. :herb:

WOW. great article, great case. keep up the excellent work @vimalkalavadiya and team. me too @tobiaseigen, hoping these brave women can win.

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Dear all, It gives me great pleasure to share yet another article written by @Hasmukhdhumadiya, who works in the Suarashtra coast in Gujarat. In this piece he shares his personal experience on working on the issue of solid waste dumping. He talks about how he worked with the affected people and how they learnt the law and realities of institutions together. Moreover, he describes the institutional challenges that are faced and what it really takes to make the responsible institution to actually take action.

@namati_staff

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Great job, @Hasmukhdhumadiya! :sparkles: I will add it to the Namati website this week!

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