Villagers demand removal of closed Bandhwari waste plant, threaten hunger strike
Residents in nearby villages say leachate from the garbage-pile at the defunct waste treatment plant has contaminated groundwater resources, putting their health at riskUpdated: Sep 10, 2017 22:31 IST
Villagers of Pali, Bandhwari, Gwal Pahari wrote to chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Saturday urging him to remove the Bandhwari waste treatment plant from the Aravallis.
They have planned to stage a blockade on the Gurgaon-Faridabad Road and also launch a hunger strike for three days, should the government fail to respond to their request.
Residents said that leachate from the plant, which shut down after a fire in 2013, has contaminated all groundwater resources in the area leaving them fearing for their health.
They said that as much as 10,000 tonnes of solid waste from Gurgaon and Faridabad are dumped daily at the defunct plant and the leachate (a liquid resulting from the leaching of soluble constituents of the soil or a landfill) from this unprocessed garbage pile threatening the sensitive ecological balance of the Aravallis and affecting their lives and livelihood.
The protest assumes significance as, last week, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) submitted a report at the National Green Tribunal (NGT) stating that the groundwater samples collected from the area around the defunct waste treatment plant had been found to be unfit for drinking.
CPCB officials collected the samples from Bandhwari, Mangar and Delhi’s Dera village.
In August, the green tribunal asked the CPCB to assess the status of groundwater contamination near the Bandhwari waste plant and submit a report. The directive came after villagers moved the NGT on the groundwater contamination in Aravalli villages.
“We don’t know how many more reports the court and the state need before they take a call on relocating the defunct Bandhwari plant. If the government doesn’t act on our request, we will go on a three-day hunger strike,” Bhagat Singh, a resident of Bhandwari, said.
Suraj Harsana, a resident of Mangar, said, “Not just Mangar, residents of other villages in the Aravallis, too, are also facing the same problem. If the state doesn’t act soon, even the groundwater sources of Delhi and Gurgaon risk being affected. This is an ecologically sensitive area and also an important ground water recharge zone and urgent measures should be taken to preserve it.”
The Bandhwari plant was set up in 2007 and went into operation in 2008.
In a report that came out in September last year, the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) had revealed that the groundwater samples collected from areas around the defunct plant had been found to be contaminated and the level of harmful chemicals are far beyond permissible levels.