Two days of rain worsen leachate run-off at Bandhwari landfillUpdated: Jul 09, 2020 23:55 IST
Gurugram Following fresh spells of rain on Tuesday and Wednesday, residents of Bandhwari and Mangar villages have reported large amounts of leachate run-off near the Bandhwari landfill site, located 20 kilometres from Gurugram city.
The ‘leachate problem’ at Bandhwari is alleged to have caused severe degradation of the water table in the region and poses a risk to the health of local residents. The issue of landfill run-off in the area has persisted for close to a decade, and routinely worsens during the monsoon, experts and local activists said.
During a spot visit to the Bandhwari landfill site on Thursday morning, an HT team found that at least five large ponds of leachate had breached near the landfill’s boundary wall.
Sunil Harsana, an activist from Mangar village, located adjacent to the landfill, said that fresh pools of leachate had formed immediately after rains this week. “This is a clear violation of the Solid Waste Management Rules, and has been observed time and again ever since the landfill started coming up. There is already evidence of groundwater contamination in the region, based on multiple independent and government inquiries. We rely on this groundwater for our own sustenance,” said Harsana.
Responding to timestamped photographs of the scene at the site taken by HT and shared with Ecogreen Energy, a company spokesperson said, “These pictures seem out of our plant (landfill) area. However, we will take a sample tomorrow from the picture area and send it to the lab. We will share the report with you once we receive it.”
Ecogreen Energy, the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram’s concessionaire for waste management in the city, is in-charge of daily operations at the landfill.
When asked about the issue, Kuldeep Singh, regional officer (Gurugram), Haryana State Pollution Control Board, said, “We will look into the issue and take appropriate action.”
Experts said that leachate problems usually worsen during the monsoon. “Landfills such as Bandhwari release more leachate during the rainy season because of direct exposure to atmospheric moisture and rainfall,” said Rekha Singh, an environment expert of the Quality Council of India, which is under the ministry of environment, forest and climate change.
Over 250,000 tonnes of garbage, which has been dumped at the site since 2008, lie in the open, thereby exposing them to the rain, she said, explaining that rainwater seeps into the waste and leaches various harmful metals and elements from it. “This liquid is toxic and should not be allowed to come into contact with the surrounding environment,” she said.