To monitor the situation at the defunct Bandhwari waste treatment plant, environment activists want civic authorities in the city to let them fly a drone equipped with camera and sensors over the plant.
The unmanned aerial vehicle will hover over the plant located off the Gurgaon-Faridabad road. The plant has been lying defunct for three years but over 800 tonne waste is dumped there every day.
Activists say the drone will help them monitor waste dumping in the area that has resulted in leachate (dirty black water) flowing into the forest area and aquifers around the plant.
The initiative comes days after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on August 24 ordered the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) to submit a report about the ground realities at the plant within two weeks. However, the corporation is yet to submit the report.
“We will ask for civic authorities’ permission this week so that we can get a drone to hover over the plant for a few days. It will be used to supervise the condition of the plant and track the formation of leachate,” said Vivek Kamboj, a city-based activist on whose petition the green court issued directions to the MCG.
Kamboj said they will rent the drone. The findings will be submitted to the NGT to describe the ground situation of the area, activists said.
In the petition, Kamboj and other activist Amit Chaudhery sought relocation of the plant and landfill site from the Aravalli area.
The petition states that the MCG and the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad are disposing of waste in the Aravalli area that is ecologically very fragile. This is polluting the groundwater and the forest area, it stated. The groundwater recharge zones in Bandhwari help in recharging groundwater of three cities – Gurgaon, Faridabad and Delhi.
The practice is also destroying the wildlife in the area, the practice stated.
The petition also alleged that various laws have been violated by government agencies. These include the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules (2000), Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules (2011), Bio-Medical Waste Handling Rules (1998), Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974 and the Forest Act (2006).
The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB), meanwhile, will also prepare a report on the quality of groundwater in the area that will highlight the problems in a better manner.
“We have taken samples of groundwater from the Bandhwari plant to find out if there are toxins or pollutants in them,” said an official of HSPCB.