Waste-to-energy plant at Ghazipur landfill shut for over 6 months: NGT panel

Updated on Aug 04, 2022 01:44 AM IST

The committee has asked the Delhi Development Authority to speed up the allotment of land to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to build an integrated solid waste management facility in the eastern part of the city.

Ghazipur landfill (Sakib Ali/HT Photo)
Ghazipur landfill (Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

The only waste-to-energy (WTE) plant at the Ghazipur landfill site has been shut for more than seven months, said a panel put together by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), ordering an enquiry against the concessionaire of the facility and asking civic bodies to consider temporarily diverting garbage from east Delhi and dumping it in the Okhla landfill.

The committee has asked the Delhi Development Authority to speed up the allotment of land to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to build an integrated solid waste management facility in the eastern part of the city.

The panel, in an interim report to the tribunal, has ordered an enquiry against the concessionaire of the Ghazipur WTE plant, noting that the plant was shut between November last year and May 6 this year, but was then shut within a week and resumed operations again only on July 15, 2022.

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“Only one WTE plant has been established at Ghazipur and its processing capacity is 1,300 tonnes per day (TPD) of Municipal Solid Waste. The plant was lying shut for around 6 months at the time of constitution of the Joint Committee. It became operational on May 6, 2022 and started taking MSW at the facility from dumpsite, however it did not run at its full capacity and it again became non-functional due to fault in the conveyer belt,” said the committee in its report, which was submitted on July 31, 2022.

The joint committee is headed by former Delhi high court judge justice SP Garg and includes members from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), department of urban development, the erstwhile EDMC (now MCD), Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), the east Delhi district magistrate and deputy commissioner of police (East Delhi). The tribunal was set up on April 22 and tasked with investigating the causes of, and suggesting solutions to prevent, fires at the Ghazipur landfill – Delhi’s biggest garbage mountain.

Three fires broke out at the landfill between March and April this year. Delhi generates over 11,000 tonnes of waste every day, of which nearly 6,500 tonnes is dumped at the city’s three landfills — in Ghazipur, Okhla and Bhalswa. Record summer temperatures in Delhi this year, coupled with dry waste and flammable gases at the landfills set off at least five major fires (three in Ghazipur and two at Bhalswa) at the dumping sites this year. The sludge and difficult terrain of the landfills have made dousing flames difficult for firefighters, officers have said, resulting in the blazes often lasting days.

The joint commission in its interim report asked for an enquiry to ascertain who was “responsible” for the WTE’s prolonged closure.

“As per report received on July 29, 2022, very less quantity of waste material is being taken for processing and the boiler has not yet stabilized. MCD officials have been directed to produce the agreement to ascertain if it contains provision for shutting down of the WTE plant for such long period and if there is a penalty clause for any omission on the part of the Concessionaire. The Committee is of the view that detailed enquiry is required to be conducted as to under what circumstances the WTE plant remained shut for more than 7 months and who was responsible for its closure,” it said in the report.

The committee has also asked for more WTE plants to be set up in east Delhi in order to meet the 2,300 TPD of fresh waste being dumped at the site.

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“Even if the WTE plant at Ghazipur is run at full capacity, which is around 1,300TPD, it is still inadequate to meet the requirements. Immediate steps are required to set up additional WTE plants at proper locations,” the report says.

In its submission, the committee has said it has recommended DDA and the Delhi government to provide alternate land to the MCD “urgently” for an integrated solid waste management facility of around 2,000 TPD.

Land for this plant was earlier allotted at north-east Delhi’s Ghonda Gujran, but this was later rejected, because the earmarked area was a part of the Yamuna floodplains.

In the interim the panel suggested the utilise the Okhla landfill to dump waste from east Delhi.

“The Committee has noted that the space and facility at Okhla can be utilized to dump municipal solid waste generated within the EDMC area to lessen the load at the Ghazipur dumpsite. After the unification of all the corporations, there should not be any difficulty in exploring the utilization of Okhla land fill site and facility to dump MSW temporarily,” it said.

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