Noida’s sanitary landfill site not identified in a year
Sanitary landfills are necessitated in cities to store waste as well as to discourage garbage dumping arbitrarily at undesignated sites, which are open to sky and soil, causing pollution to ecology.Updated: Aug 13, 2019 01:06 IST
It seems Noida’s waste management woes are unlikely to end anytime soon as a high-level committee, formed to identify a sanitary landfill site for the city, has failed to do so even after a year.
The committee, formed in June last year on orders from Lucknow, is headed by the district magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar and comprises top officials of the Noida authority. The panel was given one year’s time to identify a site for dumping waste in Noida.
Sanitary landfills are necessitated in cities to store waste as well as to discourage garbage dumping arbitrarily at undesignated sites, which are open to sky and soil, causing pollution to ecology.
As of now, in the absence of a designated landfill, the city’s waste is dumped at a 20,000 square metre vacant plot owned by the government, located near the Hindon river bank in Mubarakpur village area in Sector 145.
Last year, residents had protested against waste dumping at an unauthorised site at Sector 123, 25 acres in size, located in a residential area. Neither did the site have any environmental clearances nor did its landuse rules permit setting up a landfill.
The protests had snowballed into a city-wide agitation, forcing the state government to intervene. The committee was formed on orders of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who had directed top officials to look into waste management.
Subsequently, the Noida authority, which was developing a waste-to-energy plant at Sector 123, had to change its plan.
In Greater Noida, on the other hand, a landfill site in Astoli village, spread across 126 acres, had got all environmental approvals in 2016 but the Greater Noida authority had failed to make it operational till date. Initially in 2016, the Noida and Greater Noida authorities had jointly developed this landfill site and planned to set-up plants for waste disposal. But later, in 2017, the Noida authority changed its plans and decided to develop its own landfill site as the Astoli site is located at around 35km away and ferrying waste so far off was a hassle.
According to district magistrate BN Singh, he has held several meetings with as well as wrote to the Noida authority asking for site suggestions but he is yet to get a reply.
“We have had many meetings in the last one year with an aim to identify a site for a sanitary landfill, and had asked the Noida authority to come up with options where such sites can be developed. Besides meetings, we have written several letters asking suggestions for location of sites. But the Noida authority is yet to submit options, out of which one would have been chosen,” said Singh.
Noida produces a total of 650 metric tonnes of waste daily. According to preliminary analysis, 45% of the waste is organic in nature whereas 25% is recyclable, 25% is inert and around 5% is scrap.
The vacant land at Sector 145 is located near a developing residential area and it was not identified to have a landfill site in the Noida Master Plan 2032.
The authority resorted to storing the city’s waste at this site in June last year after protests against dumping at the unauthorised site in Sector 123. But the authority faced protests for waste dumping at this site too.
Many villagers had protested against dumping at Sector 145 on the ground that since this site is not sanitized, it will pollute the soil and the ground water.
“This Sector 145 site is located near the Hindon River and during rainy season, the waste can pollute the water and percolate to the ground water table as well. Also, the site is not surrounded by a green belt but is operational in violation of Waste Management Rules 2016. The Noida authority, in last 40 years, never bothered to follow rules and develop a landfill site. And sadly, even now the attitude of the authority is not to identify a landfill site and treat waste as per rules,” said Vikrant Tongad, an environmentalist.
A study by the Housing & Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO), a government agency and a consultant of the Noida authority for waste disposal, in 2016 stated that a single individual generates at least 500 grams of waste per day. This means that a family of five generates at least 2.5kg of waste a day. According to the study, Noida’s population of 14 lakh, spread over an area of 20,000 hectares, generates nearly 600 tonnes of waste daily.
Though the city of Noida was established in 1976, it is yet to have a sanitary landfill site to treat its waste, in the absence of which solid waste ends up being dumped haphazardly in the city, causing pollution and risks to health.
The Noida authority, however, claimed that they had satisfied all requisites on their part and that it was now up to the district administration to act on their suggestions.
“We attended all meetings and gave suggestions as required in the meeting. Now, as per the mandate, the administration has to identify the landfill site,” said RK Singh, officer on duty of the Noida authority.
The authority said it wants to perform better in this year’s Swachh Bharat survey, a Central government initiative, and to achieve that it has taken multiple steps in this direction.
Officials said an agency has been hired waste remediation and the authority is paying ₹1,400 per tonne of waste. The authority has agreed to pay ₹306.60 crore for the job for 10 years. It has allocated a budget of ₹81.3 crore for collection and treatment of construction and demolition waste. The agency will work for 15 years in Noida, said officials.
Noida residents, on the other hand, said they have taken the issue of lack of landfill in the city to the authority multiple times but their please fell on deaf ears.
“We have written letters many times to the Noida authority in the past requesting them they should identify a landfill site as per rules to store waste. In the last 40 years, the authority never bothered to develop a landfill site. And now the population of this city is increasing rapidly and vacant land is being developed for residential or other purposes. The authority should not delay it further,” said PS Jain, president of confederation of Delhi-NCR residents’ welfare associations (RWA).
The authority had, last year, said it wants to encourage RWAs, apartment owners’ associations and other residents’ bodies to work towards reducing the amount of waste taken to garbage dumping sites. The authority had also said it wanted bulk waste generators to make compost out of biodegradable waste.
“If the Noida authority wants to reduce the waste that goes to dumping sites then it should promote natural ways of converting biodegradable waste into compost. As of now, only one or two sectors are making compost via traditional method as they dig deep pits to make compost without using any machine,” said Dr Shanti, an expert on waste management.
First Published: Aug 12, 2019 23:51 IST