Time to ‘bale’ out | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Time to ‘bale’ out

Crushed and cling-wrapped garbage is the answer to scarce landfill sites, reports Neelam Pandey.

delhi Updated: May 31, 2009 00:37 IST

If each one of Delhi’s 18 million inhabitants — infants, invalids and geriatrics included — weighed 60 kilos, the city’s human mass would add up to 1.1 million tonnes.

In a year, these 18 million people produce three times their weight in garbage — 3.1 million tonnes.

In 15 more years — by 2024 — the city’s annual garbage output will increase 67 per cent to 5.2 million tonnes.

In the last 35 years, the city has already filled up and sealed 17 landfill sites. The three sites in use now — at Ghazipur, Okhla and Bhalsawa — cover an area of 1.5 sq km.

Where’s the spare land to absorb all the waste that the city is generating at breakneck pace? What’s the way out of the looming garbage crisis?

Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) seems to have found an answer. It will — if not solve the problem completely — push the crisis six times away.

The civic body plans to compact garbage into bales, wrap them in plastic sheets and stack them up to save space.

The new baling technology is said to be six-fold space efficient, for two main reasons. Firstly, because the garbage is compressed under tremendous pressure before dumping. Secondly, the bales being uniformly shaped, they can be stacked to a considerable height.

Current landfill sites, such as the one at Ghazipur, are filled to a height of 12 metres.

“The land for garbage disposal in the city is already scarce, and the three sanitary landfill sites (SLF) at Bhalsawa, Ghazipur and Okhla are full to their capacity. Hence, we have decided to try out this technology. With Commonwealth Games approaching, there is a need to tackle this issue immediately,” MCD Commissioner KS Mehra told HT.

“The technology has been used effectively in countries like Sweden, Norway and Germany,” said another senior MCD official, who is not authorised to speak to the media.

Figures available with the MCD place daily waste generation in the capital around 8,500 metric tonnes.

By 2024, Delhi is expected to generate nearly 14,300 metric tonnes of garbage per day. Hence, use of new technologies to tackle waste becomes necessary.