Stray dogs and their growing menace in the State -
Stray dogs and their growing menace in the State
Posted 28 Feb 2017 05:48 PM


While mass culling are resented on sentiments; there is a need to understand the issue professionally from a veterinary public health perspective as it is more complicated than what it appears. The number of stray dogs in an area is proportional to food availability. Let us take Jammu for example, suppose we have 10,000 stray dogs. This means Jammu has food to feed 10,000 dogs, and this is called the ‘carrying capacity’ (CC) of Jammu.

The population is squarely responsible for this dis-service of catering for dogs. This food is available in the form of garbage dumped on the streets. The consumption levels of our society, in general, have risen exponentially due to our increased ability and temptation to spend. A direct consequence of this socio-economic shift has been the colossal volumes of waste that get accumulated every morning in the nooks and corners of our streets. In Jammu, no steps have yet been taken by the Municipal Corporation to deal expeditiously with the stray dog problem on roads. Citizens, particularly late night drivers are, as a result, in the grip of fear psychosis.

Year after year, Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) has failed to complete project to tag pets in the city to distinguish between stray animals and domesticated ones. The plan was to bring dogs and cattle under the project’s purview, but results on ground are dismayed.

“A few years back, the district administration had ordered steps for checking stray dog problem and take immediate measures for sterilisation under Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme, but the drive never took off due to lack of resources,” informed a municipal official. A stray bitch can give birth to 10-12 puppies at least twice a year, and these puppies will become adults in eight months. Officials blame mushrooming of residential colonies and accompanying garbage dumps have contributed to the problem; but can that process of development be given up for failure in keeping pace with it?

“Stray dogs often chase pedestrians, making it difficult for people, especially the aged and school-goers, to move around freely. As per a report published few years back, Jammu city produces at least 300 TPD (tonnes per day) of solid waste (Central Pollution Control Board Report based upon census 2011). Just to make the arithmetic simpler and the perspective clearer, each one of us who has the right to vote in Jammu city is adding 600 grams to the urban (solid) waste every day. And, this ritual of waste disposal has a few interesting aspects to it. Firstly, there are not enough garbage collection bins installed by the Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) around the old city where people can dump their daily trash. So, people of a locality start dumping garbage at a common site as decided by the concerned public character.

People in many localities even hesitate to come out of their homes during the evening hours. People in many localities even hesitate to come out of their homes during the evening hours. JMC must facilitate waste segregation at this stage itself. This requires installation of separate containers bearing clear labels for bio-degradable waste such as perished food items, recyclable waste such as glass, plastics, paper and cardboard and hazardous waste such as chemicals and paints. And, people must be sensitized about the different categories of waste and encouraged to utilize this information while disposing it off. For now, Jammuites care little about waste segregation at the disposal stage so much so that the solid waste is even thrown into the water drains, a practice that not only clogs the drains and creates a highly unbecoming sight in our localities but also makes the problem of waste handling all the more complicated.

Waste water and solid waste are two separate issues and their management requires separate processes and technologies. Therefore, waste segregation at the outset should be encouraged as it is the first step in curbing the menace. In some cases the garbage is heaped up discretely at shady locations but in most of the cases it lies strewn around in full glory. The Indian efforts in urban waste management are led by better developed states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Gujarat and Punjab. It is by the efforts of the local administration and public participation that cities namely Ahmadabad, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ludhiana and Vadodara have each achieved a sewage treatment capacity that meets the volume of generation. In the typical J&K context, however, it is a norm that a State Government does not act much until near the end of its term or until pushed to the wall by forcefully agitating civic society. The general public has to rely largely depend upon their own initiatives for issues that concern them more often than the Government. The issue of waste management is clearly more of a community’s problem than of a minister. It is we who generate and face the piles of garbage stinking in our neighbourhoods every day. Let’s examine what we, as citizens and our Mohalla committees and the Municipality, can do on our part to contain the problem of urban waste.
A resolution of this issue requires a rare alignment of political will, public awareness, community participation and availability of technology. Our educational institutions, Government and corporate offices, civic bodies, NGOs, theater groups and media can play a vital role in educating the society on this aspect of the problem.

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