The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday asked the Gurgaon municipal corporation to submit a report regarding ground realities at Bandhwari waste treatment plant, off the Gurgaon-Faridabad road in the Aravallis, in 15 days.
The plant has been lying defunct since 2013 and is being used as a landfill. Over 800 tonnes of waste is dumped at the plant every day.
The tribunal was hearing a plea by environmentalist Vivek Kamboj and naturalist Amit Chaudhery, seeking directions to relocate the Bandhwari landfill site from the Aravallis.
The petition filed through advocate Rahul Choudhary said the municipal corporations of Gurgaon and Faridabad were disposing waste at the Bandhwari plant near the Aravalli forest area. The groundwater of Delhi, Gurgaon and Faridabad is at a risk of getting polluted by a toxic lake of untreated municipal solid waste in Aravalli forests, formed by leakage of muck from the Bandhwari plant.
A bench of justice Swatanter Kumar has scheduled the next hearing for the next month.
The MCG requested the court for time to file the ground report and the court granted 15 days. The MCG pleaded that they were unaware of the situation. “We came to know of the present condition of the site two days back. We need time to figure out a solution for the same,” an MCG official said.
The court expressed discontent that even a year after the NGT ordered to ensure that waste dumping does not contaminate groundwater, leachate -- contaminated water -- still flows to the Aravallis.
As per the solid waste management (SWM) rules notified in April, a landfill site shall be 100 metres from a river, 200 metres from a pond, 500 metres from highways, habitations, public parks and water supply wells, and 20 kilometres from airports. “The Bandhwari plant is violating basic parameters,” Vivek Kamboj said.
Green activists said Gurgaon water recharge zone is getting affected by the untreated waste lying atop the eco- fragile zone for few years.
Ruchika Sethi, an activist, said though the MCG may have recognised de-centralised SWM as a solution to the waste management problem, nothing will change without a SWM policy. She also pointed out the need for waste diversion plan, waste minimisation plan , mandatory waste segregation at source, creation of dry waste collection centres and amendments in the Haryana Municipal Corporation Act.
The 30-acre plant is located on the Gurgaon-Faridabad road near the Asola Sanctuary which is considered ecologically important.
On August 15, HT visited the plant and found that leachate is still leaking from the plant and collecting outside the boundary wall in forest area. Following the report, on August 19, the forest department had sent a notice to the MCG over pollution caused by the defunct plant.