The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board on Monday questioned the civic body over the use of a new waste disposal technology at the Kanjurmarg dumping ground without seeking environmental clearance.
Non-governmental organisation Vanashakti had, in December, filed a complaint with the MPCB, alleging that while the civic body had sought permission for the use of windrow composting technology, it was using the bioreactor landfill technology at the site. Residents had complained of stench, which the NGO said, would not have emanated if the windrow technology had been used.
According to the clause stated in the 2009 clearance letter granted to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), in the event of a change in the profile of the project, a fresh clearance has to be obtained from the ministry of environment and forest.
Stalin D, projects director, Vanshakti, said: "According to the 2007 environment impact assessment report and the environmental clearance granted in 2009, windrow-composting technology was to be used at Kanjurmarg. But, the BMC has been using the bioreactor landfill technology. This is in blatant violation of the law, as they don't have a fresh clearance. The untested technology has inconvenienced the public."
The MPCB officials said that the BMC had kept them in the dark regarding the change of technology. JB Sangewar, regional officer, MPCB, said, "We have sent a letter to the civic body asking for an explanation. Bioreactor landfill technology, though new, is not unconventional. But, they still need an approval."
The BMC officials seemed clueless. "As far as I remember, we had sought an approval. I will have to check the documents," said Mohan Adtani, additional municipal commissioner.
Experts from the BMC's statutory technical advisory committee (STAC) said that the bioreactor landfill technology has not been used anywhere in the country. "When we visited the Kanjurmarg landfill site, we found many deficiencies in the implementation of the bioreactor landfill technology. I will not say it has failed yet, but definitely some changes are recommended," said Rakesh Kumar, member, STAC, solid waste management.