The state pollution control board has given the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) 15 days to come up with an action plan to reduce the stench from the Kanjurmarg dumping ground.
On Monday, officials from Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) said a meeting has been scheduled two weeks later, chaired by top officials from the solid waste management (SWM) department, state government and MPCB to discuss solutions for proper waste management.
HT had reported several times earlier this year that residents living around Kanjurmarg dumping ground were complaining that stench from the dump was causing health problems like nausea and vomiting. Environmentalists had said the civic body had failed to control the stench.
Following complaints, MPCB issued a notice to the BMC after visiting the site and confirmed that there was a severe stench. BMC officials responded to the notice on Friday, stating that after the rains and the hot spell that has followed have increased emissions from the dump, causing the stench.
“SWM officials said MPCB should issue a notice to the consultant employed for treating the waste. They have said while preventive measures are being taken, the stench increased during the monsoon season,” said MR Lad, regional officer Mumbai, MPCB. “The BMC has also assured us that the project for scientific disposal of garbage through composting will be completed by January 17.”
Lad added that the issue had been forwarded to the state environment department. “Before taking any action against BMC, the state environment department has decided to hear them out. We have given them 15 days to come up with the action plan and list out the issues they are facing to effectively treat garbage,” he said.
State environment department officials said that they had been receiving constant complaints from residents and even the local MLA about the issue. “The BMC needs to submit a credible roadmap to resolve the issue, otherwise it will continue to linger,” said Satish Gavai, principal secretary, state environment department. “While the problem cannot be eradicated overnight, we will give them a time-frame to come up with solutions. We will evaluate and act on it.”
Spread across 65.96 hectares, the Kanjurmarg landfill receives 35.30% (3,000 tons) of the city’s total garbage (8,600 tonnes) per day.
“While we are not denying that there is a stench, there needs to be a check on the source. There is nullah running near the dumping ground and the Mulund dump yard, too, is not far away. Both these sources had aggravated the smell during the monsoon. Last Sunday, there was a power outage and it took time to treat the trash,” said a senior official from the solid waste management department, BMC.
The official added that at the bioreactor installed at the dumping ground, an automatic flaring station mechanism has been put in place which would absorb the gases emanated, especially methane. “Additional measures like spraying of enzyme based products at Kanjurmarg are being done to reduce the stench,” he said.
“The entire scientific process of clearing the stench is being done at areas that are not close to human habitation. The BMC is trying to buy time till the next monsoon and the situation is going to remain the same. No one can guarantee that there will any odour,” said Stalin Dayanand, project director, NGO Vanashakti.
BMC aims to increase Kanjurmarg capacity to 6,000 MT
The civic body is seeking a nod from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) for additional 52 acres of land near the Kanjurmarg dumping ground to process waste. The land falls under the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ). The move, officials said, will help process an additional 1,000 tonnes of waste.
Around 1,000 tonnes of waste is collected from various CRZs across Mumbai, including in Koliwadas and slums. In return, the BMC is seeking permission to treat that waste at the 52-acre Kanjurmarg site. “The move is to gradually increase the intake capacity of waste that can be processed at the site. It will also reduce the burden on other dumping grounds,” said an official from the solid waste management department.
MCZMA will take the final decision.