Toxic waste dumped into a pond adjoining Greater Noida’s Bil Akbarpur wetland has polluted the water, posing a serious threat to villagers and animals. The Gautam Budh Nagar forest department has failed to take any step to clean the pond and it may affect the groundwater in the area.
The 68-hectare Bil Akbarpur wetland is home to blackbucks, blue bulls, chinkara, sarus crane (state bird of UP), blue throat and waterfowls such as malards, pin tail, shovelers, garganey and pochards. The wildlife usually drink from the pond.
“A truck carrying waste that consists of plastic and other chemicals came in contact with a live electricity wire on the road next to this pond on Sunday. As the waste was highly inflammable, it caught fire. The driver, who was headed to nearby industrial unit, drove the truck to the pond to douse the fire. Later, the driver dumped the waste in the pond and fled,” said Sunil Kumar, one of the persons who are now cleaning the waste.
Villagers said they too tried to clean the pond as the water had turned green was emanating a foul odour.
“This pond used to have clean water. Blackbucks, deer and our buffaloes used to drink from it. Now we fear the contaminated water will harm their health. No forest or district administration official has come to remove the waste and clean the pond,” said Ompal Singh, a villager.
Bil Akbarpur wetland is one of the biggest wetlands in the district and has been neglected as local administration never took any step for its protection. The UP government had allotted some part of this wetland for a housing project.
“Following a petition filed in August 2013 demanding wetland protection, the national green tribunal (NGT) had stopped the housing project and stayed construction. The NGT is yet to give its final order on Bil Akbarpur protection,” said Amit Khemka, the lawyer fighting the case.
“We are not aware of waste dumped into pond near Bil Akbarpur wetland. We will look into it and take appropriate action,” said NC Upadhyay range officer, UP forest, Gautam Budh Nagar.