Shillong: The iconic Elephant Falls, which attract tourists in hordes to Shillong in Meghalaya, has now become an eyesore. The crystal clear water at the bottom of the falls, is now turning murky and smelly, thanks to pollution.
Speaking with EastMojo, Lionel Nongkhlaw, general secretary of San Shnong Youth Welfare Organisation (SSYWO), said, “On Saturday, the water was so dirty that it was also giving a foul smell. This wasn’t new, it has happened before but it’s just that this time it was at its worst. It started at 11 am till 3 pm. This problem keeps happening from time to time.”
According to Nongkhlaw, when the organisation took over the management from the tourism department, it was dirty even then. The team led a cleaning drive as the main outlet from the nearby Eastern Air Command (EAC) headquarters was filled with bottles and polythene bags. He said that the team cleaned the stream, and even wrote a petition to the Wing Commander of the EAC to contain the waste and ensure that the waste doesn’t flow down to the falls but in vain.
The main source of the water, which comes from Shillong peak, flows to the Eastern Air Command area and finally gets released into the Elephant Falls. The situation has left people clueless and helpless.
On seeing news reports, Nongkhlaw was surprised that the Defence PRO denied the reason behind the pollution. He pointed out how they can deny, because, just a few steps from the main falls was a stream of water that was clean and clear.
One of the workers at the falls reiterated that they had carried out several cleaning drives, and the only source was from the EAC area.
The general secretary said, “There should be a proper investigation, else this will hamper not only the environment but also the tourist spots here. Recently, we even had tourists asking for a refund as they weren’t happy with what they saw. This becomes a major setback for us. We want to ensure that when people visit this place they can go back with a smiling face.”
Meanwhile, state and central pollution control board visited the falls early morning on Monday and took samples of the water. The reports are yet to be released, though. The deputy commissioner of East Khasi Hills, who has now taken over the case, has reportedly instructed for a full team special inspection on Tuesday.