After over a year of illegally treating waste at the Kanjurmarg dumping ground with bio-reactor technology, the civic body is trying to cover its tracks by asking the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) to sanction its use.
This move has raised eyebrows as the civic body is seeking a clearance after facing a rap by the Bombay high court, which had questioned why it did not seek an environmental clearance for the technology before using it at the 141-acre site.
According to the original plan, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was supposed to treat waste using the composting method, but later decided to use bio-reactor technology without seeking a nod from the ministry of environment and forests.
Environmentalist Stalin D, whose NGO Vanashakti has filed a public interest litigation in the high court demanding the dump be shut down, opposed the move to seek a post-facto clearance. “Taking such a sanction is illegal and reeks of malice.
After dumping 3.25 lakh tonnes of garbage, they are now seeking an approval.”
Stalin said the technology is not an approved one.
“The Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) rules, which govern the country’s waste management, don’t even mention this technology. This is a clandestine way of seeking approvals.”
Additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani, however, said, “We have asked them to approve our technology and there is nothing wrong with it. Since the technology is good, we are confident the committee will give us a nod.”
The proposal was discussed in the SEIAA meeting held last month.
“We had asked the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board to submit a report on the impact this technology will have on the environment. This report will be tabled in the meeting on Thursday, after which a decision will be taken,” said an environment department official.
The official said since the proposal only deals with allowing bio-reactor technology, the SEIAA is likely to agree to its use.