The Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC) has been warned by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that new constructions will be banned if it does not issue work orders for a waste processing plant in one month.
In its order on February 3, Justice UD Salvi and Dr Ajay Deshpande of the NGT western bench, Pune, asked the MBMC to deposit Rs20 crore in the escrow account of Konkan divisional commissioner in two weeks’ time from the date of the order, and ensure that the a garbage incineration and compost plant will be completed by October 2017.
“We further direct that if the corporation (MBMC) fails to issue work order for the same project within one month, the corporation is hereby restrained to issue any occupation certificate or commencement certificate for any new residential and commercial building projects within the municipal limits,” read the order.
MBMC has been having problems managing its trash. Residents of Uttan, a village within MBMC, have complained that garbage contractors are dumping unsegregated and untreated waste in the area. Nagri Hakka Sangharsha Samiti, an association of villagers, sought NGT’s intervention and complained that odour and leachate from the dump was a nuisance.
Forty kilometres away from Mumbai, the hill-top dumping ground receives 500 tons of solid waste per day. There are five villages around the hill and residents living in the vicinity said that garbage mounds, which had reached a height of 40 metres, have caught fire during the last two summers. Mira Bhayander has a present population of 8.20 lakh people
Highlighting a ‘total non-compliance of municipal solid waste rules’, in July 2015, NGT had directed MBMC to deposit Rs70 crore with the Konkan commissioner to ensure scientific waste disposal. However, MBMC, citing insufficient finances, filed a writ petition in the Bombay high court (HC) in August 2015. The corporation was temporarily pardoned through an HC stay, which was lifted by end 2015.
The tribunal also question the corporation about its waste management plant to treat 350 of 500 tons of waste. “The corporation shall submit a proposal for scientific disposal for the remaining 150 metric tons of solid waste by the next date of hearing,” read the order. The next date of hearing has been scheduled for March 1.
IIT B study indicates several ground water, soil pollution at Uttan
The NGT, western bench highlighted a report by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-B) that found serious condition prevailing due to fires and leachate from existing dumps at Uttan. “The presence of several heavy metals including nickel, chromium, zinc etc is reported in leachate, with serious apprehensions of ground water and soil pollution, which is a serious risk considering very heavy rainfall and hilly terrain at the site,” read the report.
Air pollution twice the safety limit at Uttan dumping ground
A pollution study carried out by the Environment Policy Research Institute (EPRI) at the Uttan dumping ground found pollution levels for particulate matter (PM2.5) - small pollutant particles of 2.5 micron size that can easily enter the respiratory system and cause ailments – to be twice the permissible limits prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board.