Though an action plan has been laid by the government constituted River Rejuvenation Committee (RRC) to revive Nonbah River, now it takes a group of dedicated people of Green-Tech Foundation to venture into the ground to carry out a gargantuan task to restore the river.
Nonbah runs a distance of approximately 5.6 kms through the heart of Nongstoiñ, the district headquarter of West Khasi Hills. With near about 18 localities located in the catchment area of the river, five major drains that discharge untreated sewage and municipal wastes and the presence of small scale industries, it has for long been suffocated with waste, garbage that has deteriorated it.
To restore the pristine beauty and glory of the river, the Green Tech Foundation sees this task difficult but not impossible.
Chairman of the foundation H. Bansiewdor Nonglang told Highland Post that Nonbah is a pilot project and began the cleaning task in December with an installation of a trash trap on trail.
In the trail phase, the foundation had chosen about 30 waste pickers to segregate and pick up bottles caught in the trap. He said about 1000 kg of liquor/plastic bottles were collected, which has encouraged the waste pickets to get involved in the cleaning process.
On other waste that needs disposal, he said the foundation is in touch with the Nongstoiñ Town Committee.
Nonglang also said that the foundation today laid another trash trap at Nondeiñ River and has made arrangements to procure robotic boats from Bengaluru to clean the Nonbah.
One of the concerns raised by the foundation is septic tank discharges and encroachment by under construction building. Nonglang said the task becomes futile without the cooperation of the public, the village administrative bodies especially the shopkeepers and house owners along the catchment area.
He said the foundation has coordinated with the village dorbar and Seng Samla of Nongstoiñ to reach out to all households along the stretch of the river and distributed leaflets through a door-to-door campaign urging them to support its mission and the detrimental effects of throwing waste into the river.
“It will take us three to four years to clean Nonbah. Now it is just the beginning,” he said, adding, “If this becomes a success, we will venture to clean Umtrew in Ri Bhoi, Myntdu and Kyrhuh Khla in the Jaiñtia Hills region.”