Rubbish problem leads to cattle deaths and unclean drinking water

The Shikh gorge is a path that leads to a pasture which is used by as many as four villages Cattlemen from the villages of Garabaggal, Hajalikand, Bigir, and Garaman in Goychay take their cattle to graze here.

According to Garabaggal villager Islam Shikhaliyev, the executive authorities in the district have made a landfill out of the path. “Look, the landfill site you see is as many as two [square] kilometres large," he says. "Residents of so many villages take their cattle to the pasture through here. People's cattle die because of eating garbage. This is really insanitary."

Internally displaced people also live near the landfill site, and breed cattle as well. Elmin Heydarov says that in the past six months alone, three of his cattle swallowed syringes and died: "We end up having to keep them locked. But that's not cattle-breeding, is it? Cattle are supposed to graze!”

Heydarov says that the air here happens to be good at the moment. In summertime, however, the smell is intolerable.
"They burn garbage every night. Black smoke spreads to the villages, including where we live. You can't see anything. In addition, water that comes down from the mountains goes through the landfill site into the ditches, and villages down-stream drink this water."

Shikhaliyev says that the entire district is aware of the problem. People have filmed it and posted on the web, but to no avail:
"They [the authorities] don't care. People drink water that is mixed with this garbage. Both people and cattle drink it. Believe me, you can find diapers and rubbish in it, you can find anything in it. Cattle dig through the landfill site. Afterward, we milk them sell milk and cheese, which people end up eating."

Meydan TV contacted the Goychay District executive authorities for comment. The executive authorities said the problem would soon be tackled, stating "[r]esidents have also told us about it, and we have visited that area. The garbage will soon be buried and the problem will be over."

However, there is no clear plan as to when the rubbish problem will actually be solved; Shikhaliyev notes it has been three years since the site had been turned into a landfill and since then, villagers’ complaints have only fallen upon deaf ears.

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