Downstream Stories

India, Palampur


Palampur, India

A large forest, adjacent to the river, has been ruined by the dumping of toxic garbage that includes 90% of mixed waste. Frequent open burning of the garbage has made living conditions very difficult in nearby villages, with people experiencing respiratory disorders. Foul odour has also reached a nearby park. Stray cattle are feeding off of the plastic and drinking toxic water that is released by the site. 

People used to graze their cattle at the site, where piles of dirty harmful garbage is spreading. A bridge was made on the river to promote tourism however, tourism has been affected due to the dumping and burning of the garbage.  

Different kinds of flies have started affecting crops, forcing farmers to use pesticides that they never used in their farms. Eating meals has become challenging, due to the flies. It has become difficult to work outside.

Downstream Community Stories

On the road towards the dumpsite of Palampur.

Cows eat plastic waste at the facility.



Meenakshi describes how more and more waste is coming to the dumpsite from different villages, and the terrible impact it has on the environment and the local community. She worries that if it continues, there will be no way of ever having a clean environment again.

The dysfunctional recycling facility is adjacent to the growing piles of waste. Activists and residents take a look inside.

The waste is sporadically burnt, releasing toxic smoke into the air.

Water seems to be present on site, amongst the toxic waste.

Upon inspection, it becomes clear that waste is strewn all the way to the river.

Residents and activists worry even more waste will end up in the river, contaminating the water.

A resident

Sonu describes how the residents used to graze cattle in the area of the dumpsite. He worries that the river is getting polluted by the waste.

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Shot on location with the help of the Centre for Financial Accountability. 

Around 30-40 people from 3-4 villages  approached the local MLA and the highest bureaucratic official of the city with an application outlining their woes with the dumping yard. They have also staged a protest on the approaching road towards the dumping ground where people’s representatives and other government officials visited the protest site and assured them that corrective measures will be taken up. After which the crowd dissipated.

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