Pointing at possible air pollution, environmentalists have objected the proposal to generate electricity from the Bandhwari waste treatment plant that has been lying defunct since 2013 along the Gurgaon-Faridabad road in Aravallis forest area.
Activist wrote to the pollution control board on Monday seeking information on the permissible parameters for the plant to produce electricity from waste. Over 1,500 tonnes of waste from Gurgaon and Faridabad is being dumped at the plant which was designed to process only 600 tonnes every day. The plant spreads across 32 acres in the Aravallis.
Activists said all kinds of waste is dumped at the plant without segregation. Thus, as non-biodegradable waste, including plastic, will be processed to generate electricity, the unit is expected to emit poisonous gases as a by-product. Treating plastic waste is difficult as it generates air harmful air pollutants, environmentalists said.
Environmentalists also said there is no mandatory municipal waste segregation policy in the city. “As the waste is not segregated, large amount of plastic waste has been dumped into the plant in the last four years. Now, processing the waste will pose a threat to environment,” Chetan Agarwal, an environment analyst, said.
A case related to the relocation of the Bandhwari waste treatment plant and landfill site away from Aravalli hills area is still pending before the National Green Tribunal (NGT). Environmentalists said the civic agencies cannot plan to produce electricity when the case is still subjudice.
The plant is a cause of groundwater contamination, said the petitioner Vivek Kamboj, as leachate (contaminated water) flows into the Aravallis from the plant every year during the rainy season. “The waste management plant should not exist in the Aravallis. Producing electricity in the Aravallis will damage the flora and fauna of the forest area,” Kamboj said.
Ruchika Sethi, an activist, said, “The Aravalli range is Gurgaon’s ecological environment, and the city needs to co- exist in harmony for its own sustainability. It’s very unfortunate that the landfill site is in this eco-sensitive zone and years of dumping of unprocessed municipal solid waste has damaged water and soil. This is an SOS situation. We appeal to the chief minister of Haryana to implement waste management solutions without any delay so that there is least dependence on landfill sites.”
The Haryana State Pollution Control Board, however, (HSPCB) said the final approval for the project will be granted after they pollution parameters are satisfied by the proposed plant. “We will ensure that the new plant that aims to produce electricity from waste follows the environment norms,” Bhupender Singh, regional officer, HSPCB, said.