Delhi is staring at an acute waste disposal crisis as daily generation of garbage may jump to 19,100 tonnes, or 4,775 truckloads, by 2024, up from the current 9,200 tonnes or 2,300 truckloads, a parliamentary panel has said. This comes even as the government has failed to find new landfill sites despite repeated interventions by the courts.
Indicting the government, the standing committee on urban development said three of the four landfills in the city have become ‘stinking mountains’, far exceeding their closure deadlines.
In addition, people are bitterly opposed to landfills coming up in their neighbourhoods, officials admit, since existing ones aren’t maintained scientifically, turning them into massive polluting heaps.
“The mountain of waste produced every day has to be managed in a manner that will ensure least pollution and nuisance to the nearby population,” the panel said.
Pointing out that only 10 of 44 waste-management projects have been completed, the committee asked the urban development ministry to sanction more projects. “The ministry should adopt eco-friendly systems in Delhi like developed countries,” it said.
Yogendra Mann, spokesperson for the east and north municipal corporations, however, shifted blame, saying “We have suggested possible sites to the DDA since only they can provide land but no allotment has been made.”
Almost 85% of the city doesn’t have a formal door-to-door trash-pickup system, leading to 2500-odd unhealthy dhalaos (waste dumping enclosures) serving as secondary collection centres. Many dhalaos overflow and spill garbage on the streets. The problem is likely to worsen with the city’s population ballooning to 24.5 million by 2024.
The ministry, in its reply to the committee, which was rejected, had said local municipal authorities are responsible for collection, and disposal of waste. It also claimed to have forwarded a note to the Delhi government to promote decentralized compost plants to take pressure off landfills.