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Whose responsibility is it? Wake up, Gurugram!


33 lakh tonne of legacy waste at the Bandhwari landfill site plagues Gurugram. Yesterday there was a fire in the area. Some reports called it a ‘minor fire.’ In the ‘minor fire’, a dozen fire tenders were rushed from Faridabad, Gurugram and Ballabhgarh, and eight shanties were gutted.

Time to think, not very far when Gurugram will be choked once again if we do not take action now!

Well, the reason for the fire is obscure, possibly a cylinder blast or deadly heatwave. Also, the suspected cause of the fire is a build-up of methane gas at the site due to the decomposition of solid waste piled at the landfill. Whatever be it, it is not something new to Gurugram administration and people. The issue is long pending and is hazardous and certainly not minor in any sense of understanding and its repercussions on the city dwellers.

The National Green Tribunal in April 2021 had asked Haryana government to take ownership of the trash site and make focussed remedial action plan for clearing the same through bio-remediated and processing. The issue still stands unresolved.

What is landfill doing?

 The tonnes of piled garbage is toxic for people living near the area and in scores, people who directly getting impacted living near the area have raised their concern. There have been serious failures in the remedial implementation of the plan. The sensitivity, health concerns and life threats attached to the same makes the landfill a cause of greater concern for Gurgaon dwellers and environmentalists, the issue is crying for attention of Gurgaon authorities for years now.

Green Tribunal intervention

 The action plan stated by the Green tribunal in April stated, “The first step is to excavate legacy waste, loosen it and make windrows so that the leachate can be dried up through solar exposure, and all the entrapped methane is removed from the heap before bio-mining. The waste is stabilised, which takes four weeks, and a bio-culture solution is sprayed for enhancing the decomposition, after which stabilised waste is sent to screening through a trommel,’’ (it is a mechanical screening machine used to separate materials, mainly in the mineral and solid-waste processing industries.)  the action plan stated.

There is an estimate of around 1000 tonnes of garbage dumped at the site every day, which remains untreated; a major fire in 2013 had gutted down the waste management plant at the site. Since then, the landfill is waiting to be treated.

The environmental damage that the landfill alone is causing ​is estimated to​ 148 crores as revealed by the study conducted by a joint committee of CPCB (Central Committee of joint Control Board), IIT Delhi on guidelines by the NGT and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute. ​The report is based on taking into account the severe adverse release on health due to the release of toxic gases, leachate into the groundwater and soil, climate change due to carbon dioxide and methane and price depreciation due to lack of amenities and more.

The possible answer is immediate attention of district authorities, citizens becoming more environment friendly and bio-remediation of the municipal waste.

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