Green court gives last chance for clearing legacy waste at landfill

The principal bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), hearing a petition concerning legacy waste at the Bandhwari landfill site on March 9, has given authorities the last chance for ensuring “meaningful action on the ground level” by April 7 to clear the waste
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Updated on Mar 11, 2021 10:31 PM IST
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BySuparna Roy, Gurugram

The principal bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), hearing a petition concerning legacy waste at the Bandhwari landfill site on March 9, has given authorities the last chance for ensuring “meaningful action on the ground level” by April 7 to clear the waste.

The principal bench of the NGT, headed by chairperson Justice AK Goel, said, “…only option left to is require the state to pay compensation for continuing damage to the environment till compliance, and direct prosecution of the concerned secretary, but on assurance of the municipal, we give last opportunity for ensuring meaningful action on the ground level by the next date.”

The petition was filed by environmentalist Vivek Kamboj, founder of Delhi-based Hariyali Welfare Society NGO. An order copy of the case was released on Thursday and accessed by HT.

The court further asked the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) to submit a future action plan that must provide for placing information about day-to-day progress on the website and to ensure processing of current waste at a different site. The court also asked the secretary of urban development/local bodies and the commissioner of MCG to be present in person or through video conference with a report of meaningful action during the next hearing, scheduled for April 7.

The green court expressed disappointment over the “inaction of the authorities in scientific management of the waste” that has resulted in leachate being discharged, causing contamination of the groundwater, polluting surface water and also polluting the air.

The court said that it has been monitoring the remedial action taken by MGG in the past five years and has repeatedly found failures. The bench said it was disappointed to find that there was “practically no progress, resulting in continuing damage to the environment and public health.”

Calling the treatment of legacy waste “insignificant”, the court also said that only 2% of the 3.3 million tonnes of legacy waste has been remediated at the Bandhwari landfill site in over the last year, indicating “that seriousness of the concerned authorities is lacking.”

The Bandhwari landfill receives around 2,000 tonnes of waste every day from both Gurugram and Faridabad. Municipal solid waste from both these cities is being dumped at the said site since 2015. Almost eight trommel machines have been deployed by authorities at the site to clear legacy waste, and each machine can process 300 tonnes per day.

As per a report by the Central Pollution Control Board submitted to the NGT in September 2020, the height of the dumpsite increased to 36 metres from 27 metres (recorded by CPCB in February 2020) and the total waste dumped stood at 3.1 million tonnes approximately.

Sanjeev Sharma, official spokesperson of Ecogreen Energy, MCG’s concessionaire for waste management at the Bandhwari landfill said, “We have learnt about the recent NGT order and are working to increase the speed of treatment of legacy waste. Along with the regular treatment of waste, we are also following zero waste Mondays for the past two months to reduce dumping of fresh solid waste at the landfill site.”

Vinay Pratap Singh, the MCG commissioner said, “The MCG has treated 1.8 lakh (0.18 million) metric tonnes of legacy waste so far even with constraints of Covid-19 restrictions and space at the landfill site. We have assured NGT that our waste treatment capacity would increase by 1,200 metric tonnes per day in March taking the full capacity to 4,000 metric tonnes per day. We are conscious of potential environmental concerns and would submit action taken report in NGT on next date of hearing.”

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Saturday, December 04, 2021