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Lower Martam Garbage Dump Ground, SK, India


Four villages nearby Gangtok, the Capital city of Sikkim (Lower Martam, 14th Mile, Nimtar and Mangthang), are facing serious health problems due to the unregulated dumping of municipal waste from the nearby Gangtok town and other areas of the state. The incorrect way of dumping municipal waste has created stinking smell in the area. This has created a breeding ground for worm, mosquitos, and house flies and in the area. Beside this, the toxics emerged from these wastes is a major cause of serious health problems. Local residents alleged that the diseases like lung cancer, TB, MDR, diarrhea, skin infections, allergy and many other ailments have increased among the local population. The people also said cases of TB have risen in the area along with other life-threatening diseases.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Lower Martam Garbage Dump Ground, SK, India
State or province:Sikkim
Location of conflict:Village- Lower Martam
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific commodities:Domestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The waste dump site is located at Lower Martam areas of southern Sikkim. Presently, more than 40 tons of solid waste is dumped in the site every day. Even hospital and chemical waste from the pharmaceutical companies are being dumped in the site without any pre-treatment. This irresponsible dumping has created an environment and health risk in the area [1].

Type of populationRural
Affected Population:4,000-6,000
Start of the conflict:2009
Company names or state enterprises:Gangtok Municipal Corporation (GMC) from India
Relevant government actors:Government of Sikkim, State Pollution Control Board (SK), Urban Development & Housing Department
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM)
Local MLA of SKM
Local Villagers
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of alternative proposals
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsVisible: Infectious diseases, Other Health impacts
Other Health impactslung cancer, TB, MDR, diarrhea, skin infections, allergy
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Under negotiation
Development of alternatives:The local residents along with the MLA announced that if the government unable to take proper action to deal with the waste management, they will continue the protest and will not allow the dumping of waste at the site from 10th August 2014 onwards [1].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The Local MLA who is leading the protest alleged that the people of the area have been complaining for the past five years. However, no actions have been taken by the government. He emphasized on the need for human health mapping of these areas immediately, and urged the State government to take immediate action to ensure proper dumping of solid waste.
State Pollution Control Board of Sikkim is not monitoring the dumping ground properly. Also, the recycle machine was install 8 years ago was not functional. The pollution control board is not taking initiatives to make the machine functional.
The state government has not implemented the “Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) Rules” in Sikkim [1, 2, 3].
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) Rules
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] MLA demands better management at Lower Martam garbage dump
[click to view]

[2] Mechung leads Lower Martam residents in protest
[click to view]

[3] SKM MLA gives 10-day ultimatum to UDHD, GMC
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update29/09/2014
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