Plastic waste dumping resumes in Gurugram’s Basai wetland, environmentalists allege corruption
A month after a massive dump of plastic waste was cleared from the ecologically sensitive Basai wetland, dumping has resumed, alarming birders, environmentalists and local residents.
The dump of waste plastic bottles near another controversial waste and construction debris plant had come to light in June after a black-necked stork was spotted with a plastic bottle cap around its beak.The bird was later rescued from Najafgarh in Delhi.
The MCG officials had conducted a spot check in June, after a complaint was forwarded by the subdivisional magistrate (SDM) on the behest of the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB). Following the visit, the plastic recycling plant was ordered to clear the dump and shut down operations.
Local residents alleged that trucks have started dumping waste at a plastic bottle manufacturing and recycling plant and the unit has been working for the past two days.
According to HSPCB officials, they will visit the site again and notify the MCG to stop operations. “Permission needs to be taken from the HSPCB for manufacturing or recycling units, but this unit was compressing bottles and sending them to other states. We will visit the site and notify the MCG,” said Jai Bhagwan, regional officer, HSPCB.
The owner of the unit, Arvind Dalal, alleged that he was being “singled out”. “There are numerous such units across Gurugram, with three-four of them in Basai itself. When this is happening everywhere, why am I being targeted? We are not doing anything illegal,” said Dalal.
The plastic bottles which are compressed and recycled at the unit are used for making fibres for clothes, Pet sheets and new plastic bottles, said Dalal. “We are merely taking garbage outside the city to states like Punjab, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. We are doing good work for the environment,” said Dalal.
As per plastic waste management rules, 2016, while collection points for plastic bottles can be anywhere, units with compression machines can only be set up in industrial areas.
An MCG official, requesting anonymity, said, “This unit has not been given permission to function. It is unauthorised. Such units are required to take licence from MCG, the department of industries, the labour commission and other bodies.”
Dalal, however, did not provide proof for any of the licences mentioned by the MCG official. “My unit is under a registered firm with a GST number,” he said.
MCG commissioner Yashpal Yadav said the civic body will soon notify its own rules regarding such units and implement them strictly.
Environmentalists alleged it was a “clear case of corruption” as the unit has restarted despite being shut down a month ago. Pankaj Gupta, an environmental activist, said,“Legal action should be taken against the owner of the unit and the government should seize all the equipment.”
“The government should be sensitive to the fact that this is the time when migratory birds come to Basai. The plastic unit poses a threat to their life. How could the unit owner show the audacity to restart the unit despite the MCG order? There is clearly something fishy here,” alleged Gupta.
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