City laid to waste | Great mess called Panchkula’s garbage dumping site
The 12-acre garbage dump site in Sector 23 here has almost become a regular action spot of the local fire department for the past one month with fire tenders spending hours dousing the raging fires every second or third day.
A close look reveals as to how guidelines of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for managing garbage dumping sites are being flouted by the municipal corporation and they can be avoided with better management.
WHAT IS WRONG HERE?
The guidelines right from the segregation of the waste to final compacting are not followed properly. A visit by the HT to the site on Wednesday revealed that in the name of segregation, rag pickers take out the waste, which has commercial value, and the waste with no commercial value is buried together against rules. Another important violation is the levelling of the garbage and covering it with the soil at the time of burying it.
The MC has employed only one-chain dozer to level nearly 100 tonnes of garbage being dumped there every day.
An MC employee at the site said that one dozer is insufficient to level the garbage and, at the same time, cover it with soil. One additional machine is required, for which repeated requests have been ignored.
Surprisingly, the dozer is on monthly rent of Rs 3 lakh per month against the new machine costing just Rs 18-20 lakh.
The soil is not provided in time, said a worker posted at the site. On paper, the site gets four tractors of soil everyday, but the reality is otherwise. The soil is dumped in one go at a place and it becomes difficult to transport it to another place where it is required in the absence of availability of a JCB machine.
People at site said if soil is provided in adequate quantity and a vehicle to transport it to the other site is made available, fire incidents can be controlled easily.
WHY INCREASE IN FIRE INCIDENTS?
Since the site is not covered from the forest side, it catches fire from there. Besides, there is also a release of dangerous gases from the site as it is not compressed properly. Many a time, sanitation workers burn the waste around the site and the fire spreads through holes of the existing site walls. During the last one month, at least 15 fire incidents have been reported. Sector 25 based lawyer, Hemant Sarin, said all sectors in Panchkula extension area are scenic but unfortunately HUDA and MC are bent upon turning these sectors and the lives of their residents into trash.
The dumping ground is a big health hazard for all Panchkula extension sectors, located nearby. No one takes any action.
--- Tilak Raj, Sector 26 resident
The smell emanating from the site is unbearable. The situation is worse during the monsoon.
-- Om Parkash Katyal, Sector 25 resident
Fire incidents at the landfill site continue to spread ash and smoke and is life-threatening for asthma patients.
-- PS Thakur, Sector 26 resident
We were told that the landfill site will be properly walled, but nothing has happened.
-- Manmohan Kumar, Sector 24 resident