Gurgaon: Villagers not hopeful of Bandhwari waste plant revival
Villagers around the defunct waste treatment plant have been facing health problems and social isolationgurgaon Updated: Nov 19, 2017 23:02 IST
Even though the Haryana government promised to revive the defunct Bandhwari waste treatment plant by June 2019, villagers doubt if operations at the waste-to-energy treatment plant will resume any time soon.
Villagers said over the last four years, they have been battling health issues and social isolation because of leachate contamination of nearby waterbodies. The fluid from the landfill site has rendered most water resources in the area unusable and even water samples collected for quality tests returned negative. Residents said the polluted water not only poses a grave health risk, but is also the reason why people from neighbouring villages are not willing to engage with them socially, fearing contamination.
The city’s only solid waste treatment plant was set up in 2007 and went into operation in 2008. However, the unit shut down after a fire broke out in 2013. While the plant has been closed ever since, tonnes and tonnes of untreated solid waste continue to pile up at the landfill.
From time to time, residents of Bandhwari, Pali, Mangar and Gwal Pahari held protests demanding shifting of the waste treatment plant, citing health concerns and contamination of water resources.
Yashwinder Singh, a Bandhwari resident, said, “People have stopped attending social events at our village and we are also not being able to get our sons and daughters married due to concerns over water contamination and the stench of untreated garbage emanating from the landfill. The area is not habitable anymore.”
Ram Lal, headman, Bandhwari village, said, “Every day, more than 1,000 tonnes of untreated waste from Gurgaon and Faridabad are dumped at the landfill. The plant is to blame for rising cases of respiratory and skin diseases among residents.”
Environment activists have also flagged health care concerns claiming that the plant doesn’t conform to solid waste management rules.
“Civic agencies made big promises about the Bandhwari plant, but not one of them has translated into action on the ground. The plant, in its present state, poses a grave risk to the Aravalli forest, nearby residents and water resources,” Jiten Bhanada, an environment activist, said.
Villagers moved the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2015, seeking steps to mitigate rising groundwater contamination in areas around the plant.
On June 25, the NGT asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to collect groundwater samples from the area around the plant for tests. The CBCP, in its report, ruled that the water was neither potable nor good enough to be used for other household purposes.
In 2016, Hindustan Times ran a report on how leachate from the closed plant was contaminating a nearby pond. The tribunal asked the civic body to get water samples from neighbouring areas tested.
Last year, in September, the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) revealed that the water samples collected from the pond near the Bhandwari plant was found to be contaminated and the levels of harmful chemicals were above the permissible limit.
First Published: Nov 19, 2017 23:02 IST