Activists have written to Delhi lieutenant-governor Najeeb Jung and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal against east civic body’s proposed 150-acre landfill site on Yamuna floodplain.
There are severe concerns about the project which is expected to come up on along Pushta Road, from Shastri Park crossing to Khajoori Khas crossing. The land belongs to the Delhi Development Authority, which has offered it to the East Delhi Municipal Corporation for developing a sanitary landfill and other municipal processing facilities after necessary clearance from Delhi Pollution Control Committee and National Green Tribunal.
Yamuna activist Manoj Misra, who has written an email expressing his concerns, says the landfill would destroy existing wetland, pollute underlying aquifers and groundwater and contribute to air pollution.
“The site being in the river bed violates all legal provisions in the country that one can think of including the Water Act, Environment Protection Act and Waste Management Rules to name but few,” he says.
According to Misra, the DDA plans for the site in the past were to develop it as a series of wetlands and the NGT also wanted to develop water bodies to store flood waters for the city at the site.
“Sir, could there be a more senseless, dangerous and illogical plan than this and to top it, the EDMC claims it to be in PUBLIC INTEREST?” the activist asks in the letter.
On Monday, a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked EDMC to approach the expert panel with its proposal and said it would pass orders after taking into account their recommendation. The expert committee was constituted by the green court on December 2 to look into the working of the waste-to-energy plants in the city.
An NGT judgment in 2015 barred any construction on the Yamuna floodplain. The landfill can be treated as an exceptional case, since the ones at Bhalaswa, Okhla and Ghazipur have exhausted their capacity, the petition by the corporation had said.
“The green court had in 2015, issued comprehensive directions with respect to the demarcation of the Yamuna floodplains and the measures required for its protection. It also prohibited the carrying out of any construction activity on the demarcated floodplain.
“Due to the scarcity of suitable land in Delhi and the utmost need for a landfill, the corporation has asked permission for the development of the site and other municipal solid waste processing facilities in the interest of the public,” the petition said.
The lone landfill site in east Delhi is located at Ghazipur and has been operational since 1984. In east corporation’s area, around 2,200-2,300 million tonnes (MT) per day of municipal waste, 500MT of construction and debris waste and 700-800 MT of silt per day are generated, officials said. The Ghazipur site contains at least 13 million tonnes of waste and has outlived its normal life span.
Vimlendu Jha of NGO Swechha has also started a petition on change.org titled “No Landfill on the banks of Yamuna, find another site”.
“It is the most preposterous and ill-conceived proposal in the history of Yamuna and urban governance in the country. It will sit over a source of drinking water, it’s in the high seismic zone, near the densely populated area and also next to several archaeological sites. We are also conveniently ignoring the situation that may arise due to flooding, we are welcoming the waste dump flowing into the mainstream of the river.
“We are not against a landfill, we are against raising this landfill on the floodplains of Yamuna. Nowhere in the world has a sane government has raised a dump yard next to their surface water. We would like to request you to look for an alternate site for the landfill, else you will be solely responsible for a deliberate attempt to sabotage the flood plains, the river water and therefore public health and safety of citizens of Delhi,” Jha’s petition addressed to Jung, Kejriwal, Delhi Jal Board chief Kapil Mishra and NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.