Acting on the National Green Tribunal's orders, government agencies are busy removing thousands of truckloads of construction and demolition waste from the banks of the Yamuna. But nobody knows what to do with the waste or where to dump it.
The green tribunal has set August 15 as the deadline for removing the debris.
Delhi generates 5,000 tonnes of debris a day. But the lone debris processing plant at Burari in north Delhi can handle only 500 tonnes a day. Despite the tribunal's orders, 500 tonnes of debris are still being dumped on the riverbanks every day.
Nearly 26,000 trucks of debris had been found dumped in the jurisdiction of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation alone. Another 10,000 trucks of debris were found in land that belongs to the Uttar Pradesh's irrigation department, surrounded by Delhi.
V Rajagopalan, secretary of the Union ministry of environment and forests, who is the nodal officer for removal of debris and preservation of the riverbanks, has demanded 50 acres of land from the DDA so that Delhi's municipal corporations can set up 10 more debris processing plants.
He has requested Sudhir Krishna, secretary of the Union ministry of urban development, which governs the DDA, to provide the land. The South Delhi Municipal Corporation has advised Rajagopalan that to save the Yamuna banks and other open spaces in Delhi, it is necessary to set up 10 more plants in different municipal zones.
"This will ensure reuse and recycling of debris and generate revenue," the SDMC has said. At the Burari plant, debris is used in making ready-mix concrete, pavement blocks, kerb stones and concrete bricks. These products are later sold in the market.
The tribunal had on Monday ruled that any individual found dumping debris on the Yamuna riverbed would be fined R5 lakh.