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Even New Rules Failed, Delhi’s Landfill Grows 15 Meters In A Year

Delhi is also top producer of plastic waste

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Even Rules Failed, Delhi's Landfill Grows 15 Meters In A Year
Even Rules Failed, Delhi's Landfill Grows 15 Meters In A Year, Pixabay

Even as the country’s waste management rules call for effective recycling and have fixed a cap of 20 metres on landfill sites, Delhi’s huge un-engineered dumping grounds have grown taller by two to 15 metres in the past 12 months, officials in the know have told IANS.

India revised its decade-old solid waste management rules in 2016 but several norms seem to have collapsed at Delhi’s three un-engineered and over-saturated landfills — Ghazipur in the east, Okhla in the south and Bhalaswa in the north. Only the one at Bawana in the northwest is a “engineered solid waste dumping and processing site”.

A source of air-pollution and accidents, nearly one percent of the Ghazipur landfill collapsed in September 2017, claiming two lives.

Over past year, Ghazipur has grown taller by 15 metres, from 50 metres in 2017 to about 65 metres at present, officials told IANS. Besides, the landfill at Bhalaswa has grown by about two metres and that at Okhla has gained five metres in height and acquired 14 acres of additional area.

“It’s gaining height rather than losing as planned. At present Ghazipur landfill site must be around 60 ot 65 metres. About 50 per cent is bio-degradable while about five to seven per cent is plastic,” Pradeep Khandelwal, Chief Engineer, East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), told IANS.

“We have been successful in avoiding untoward incidents; there have only been two fire incidents since October 2017,” Khandelwal said, adding that EDMC, in collaboration with IIT-Delhi, is working on giving a proper shape and slope to the landfill so that it does not collapse.

Even Rules Failed, Delhi's Landfill Grows 15 Meters In A Year
Even Rules Failed, Delhi’s Landfill Grows 15 Meters In A Year, Pixabay

The Ghazipur landfill, spread over 70 acres of land, holds about 150 lakh tonnes of waste. It was suppose to be shut in 2008 as it had been polluting the air, water and soil since 1984.

Officials at EDMC reiterated a two-year-old story that solid-waste from Ghazipur will be used by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for constructing a 74 km stretch of the 137-km-long Delhi-Meerut Expressway. There’s been no forward movement on this.

According to the 2016 solid-waste management rules, a landfill site must not exceed 20 metres in height, must not be older than 22-25 years and must have a clay-lining at the bottom to save the land and ground water.

“About 2,000 tonnes of mixed garbage is dumped here everyday,” Sanjay Jain, Engineer, Department of Environment Maintenance Services (DEMS) at North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), that manages Bhalaswa landfill site, told IANS.

The Bhalaswa landfill is spread over 40 acres and has gained about two metres in height since 2017, officials said.

“Our plan is to cap the height here… a tender for waste to energy is awaited, so that it does not grow any further,” Jain added.

The Okhla landfill site under South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has stopped growing after adding five metres in the past year. Waste is now dumped at another recently-acquired 14-acre plot.

“We have stopped further dumping as the landfill grew to 55 metres spread over 32 acres. Additional 14 acres of area is partially operational for now,” Tufel Ahmed, an SDMC official, told IANS.

He added that the plan is to reduce the height of Okhla landfill to 30-35 metres, for which the process of cutting and sloping is underway.

According to Ahmed, a new waste-to-energy plant at Okhla, for which the tendering process is being worked out, will help divert 2,000 to 2,200 tonnes of garbage being dumped there every day.

In 2016, while India produced 62 million tonnes of solid waste annually, of which only 12 million tonnes were treated, Delhi produced over 14,000 tonnes daily.

There are no clear figures for 2018 but experts estimate that the current annual solid waste generation must be no less than 65 to 72 million tonnes. This figure is expected to rise to 436 million tonnes by 2050.

Delhi is also top producer of plastic waste — 689.52 tonnes daily, while India produces over 25,000 tonnes every day, of which only 60 per cent is collected and processed, according to Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan.

According to business analysts, the Indian waste management industry has a potential of $15 billion with promising growth prospects. Inability to tap this potential, according to experts, is a “major inaction”.

Also read: air pollution Delhi scientists turning smoke ink

Swati Singh, waste management expert at the Centre for Science and Environment, told IANS: “In January 2018, solid waste management bylaws were formed in Delhi, under the 2016 revision of old waste rules, yet there has been no progress in Delhi’s landfill sites, they should have ideally been completely shut.” (IANS)

Next Story

Now The Delhi Government Comes Up With The Food Wastage Check Policy At Social Gatherings

"If the food is surplus due to lower turnout of the guest and resultant less consumption, then it shall be the responsibility of organiser of the social function to remove that food from the social function site, immediately after the completion of the duration of that social function," it says.

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food wastage
"Further, officers of respective ULB will conduct random or complaint-based inspection. The violations would be noted with proofs by the inspecting officers without the disrupting the function. In the event of violation of any of the conditions, the penalty would be imposed against violators under specific act/rules/orders." Pixabay

The Delhi government has drafted a policy to keep a check on the wastage of food at social functions in the national capital.

All organisers and caterers will have to register themselves with NGOs to manage the surplus and leftover food for distribution among the underprivileged, says the draft policy.

“The caterer should make proper arrangements to handover fresh surplus and leftover food to these NGOs,” reads the Draft ‘Policy for Holding Social Functions in Hotels, Motels and Low-Density Residential Area (LDRA) in National Capital Territory of Delhi’.

According to the draft policy, the owner, organiser, and the caterer must have the necessary permissions including FSSAI license from Delhi’s Department of Food Safety, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to run their kitchens or to sell or serve prepared food for the guest and the consumer.

“They should be registered with some NGO to manage surplus/leftover food by distributing the same among underprivileged. The caterer should make proper arrangements to handover fresh surplus and leftover food to these NGOs.

The food preparation should be according to the ceiling of the number of guests as per prescribed capacity of the motel and LDRA. The number of guests cannot exceed the guest limit approved by the Urban Local Body (ULB) for that function site, it says.

“If the food is surplus due to lower turnout of the guest and resultant less consumption, then it shall be the responsibility of organiser of the social function to remove that food from the social function site, immediately after the completion of the duration of that social function,” it says.

food
According to the draft policy, the owner, organiser, and the caterer must have the necessary permissions including FSSAI license from Delhi’s Department of Food Safety, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to run their kitchens or to sell or serve prepared food for the guest and the consumer. Pixabay

The Commissioner Food Safety shall ensure that the above conditions are strictly followed; any violation thereof would invite action from the deployed officers by the Commissioner Food Safety, the draft policy reads.

The rules will be enforced by periodical inspections, which shall be conducted by officers of various state stakeholder agencies.

“Further, officers of respective ULB will conduct random or complaint-based inspection. The violations would be noted with proofs by the inspecting officers without the disrupting the function. In the event of violation of any of the conditions, the penalty would be imposed against violators under specific act/rules/orders.”

“The capacity of the space should be determined by multiplying the total number of car parking available by four or by means the number of persons obtained by dividing the gross floor area of the premises by occupant load factor at 1.5 sqm, whichever is less,” says the document.

It said adding that the total number of days on which a social function can be organised are restricted to 120 days in authorized/approved spaces.

food wastage
The food preparation should be according to the ceiling of the number of guests as per prescribed capacity of the motel and LDRA. The number of guests cannot exceed the guest limit approved by the Urban Local Body (ULB) for that function site, it says.
Pixabay

The draft also said that motels and LDRA should be constructed as per sanctioned building plan.
“Minimum area of LDRA must be equals or more than 2.5 acres. Only such Motel and LDRA houses should be permitted to hold social functions which have proper access to the road from a main road (60 ft wide or more) and the LDRA should not be located at a road which ends in a dead end,” it said.

According to an official from the government, the decision to formulate a comprehensive policy regulating social functions was taken after the direction of the Supreme Court.

“Further, in view of Motel Policy of Ministry of Tourism 1995, policy for holding social functions in Farmhouses of Government of NCT of Delhi, Master Plan 2021(MPD 2021), amendments in MPD-2021 notified in 2013, a comprehensive policy was required to be drafted,” the official told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

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The Chief Secretary has constituted a committee of four officers, including Principal Secretaries of Urban Development and Health, Chief Executive Officer, Delhi Jal Board and Member Secretary, Delhi Pollution Control Committee, to draft the policy.

“Accordingly, the committee after consultation with all stakeholders drafted the policy keeping in mind concerns of Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) and Supreme Court such as stop the use of perennially installed semi-permanent pandals, nuisance of parking on outside road of the venue, safety of guests and general public, stop the misuse of scarce resources like water and stop any kind of pollution or degradation of Environment,” the official said. (IANS)