The existing waste at the Deonar dumping ground will not be processed any time soon. The complete scientific closure of the dump might even take years to begin, as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has no such plans yet. Even if the civic body worked round-the-clock and received all clearances on schedule to build a scientific processing unit at the site, it would still take two years to begin the project.
The BMC planned a waste-to-energy project at the dump. However, it will only use the 3,000 metric tonnes of fresh waste dumped at the site daily.
The existing 12 million tonnes of waste spread across the 122 hectare landfill has been prone to fires since January. However, it has not been taken into account for this project. This means the dump will continue to pose a threat to the residents of this area. There is no guarantee that the dump won’t catch fire in the future, said civic officials on the condition of anonymity.
The BMC collects approximately 9,600 tonnes of waste every day from the city and transports it to three dumping sites—Deonar, Kanjurmarg and Mulund. Of this, 3,000 tonnes is dumped at Deonar. The BMC, which has struggled to control infernos at the site, had announced that it will scientifically close the city’s largest dumping ground and construct a waste-processing unit, according to the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) report.
“Currently, our priority is the scientific closure of the Mulund dumping ground. After this, Kanjurmarg plant will be expanded. Plans for Deonar will depend upon how the closure of the Mulund landfill goes,” said additional municipal commissioner Sanjay Mukherjee.
The civic body has now put the scientific closure of Deonar on the backburner and will only concentrate on the WTE plant. Meanwhile, to control the repeated pocket fires at Deonar, the civic body is implementing methods suggested by NEERI and IIT-Bombay, such as sprinkling heaps with debris and mud. IIT-Bombay had suggested the implementation of a system to capture methane gas and remove it from the dump.