The Rising Mess Around Ghazipur Landfill
Delhi generates more than 9,500 metric tonnes of garbage every day. All being dumped at three landfill sites – Bhalswa, Ghazipur and Okhla. Of all these sites, Ghazipur in east Delhi is the oldest and is now over saturated. There have been accidents caused at the site, calling for immediate action to move to a new landfill site.
After the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) moved the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to help find an alternate site, it has now filed an affidavit with the green Bench to direct the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to hand over a 130-acre piece of land at Sonia Vihar and a 50-acre plot at Ghonda Gujran for land filling. Both these locations fall under zone ‘O’ or the Yamuna River Zone category.
However, it being said that these two proposed landfill sites may be damaging and contaminating the floodplain.
The NGT Bench had earlier asked EDMC to move the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the state pollution control board to vet the land and see if it is fit to be used as a landfill site. “The CPCB should decide the matter in the next three weeks (sic),” the NGT was reported as saying.
PropGuide on the rut behind the Ghazipur landfill site:
What is Ghazipur landfill?
Operational since 1984, the landfill site is spread over an area of 29 acres. According to the estimates, there is over 12 million tonnes of waste at the site and it stands 50-metre tall. The site had overshot the limit of 15-metre for a landfill site in 2002, but no steps have been taken to make the shift. There was an absence of an alternative site keeping the landfill functional.
The landfill site, back in 2016, used to get 3,000-3,5000 metric tonnes of waste every day with more than 600-650 trucks trailing on the huge garbage mounds every day. The landfill apart from garbage also takes up sewage water and is used to dump construction rubble from east Delhi.
The site has been impacting the lives of many residents of Gharoli, Khoda, Gharoli Extension, Kalyanpuri, Kaushambi, Ghazipur and Kondli.
An alarming state
With the mounds being filled with all type of waste every day, the landfill is a ticking waste bomb. While you are crossing the landfill, especially during the night, you will see small fires all around. These are caused due to natural decomposition of the waste causing emission of gases like methane.
The landfill has also been a cause of accidents. In September 2016, a part of the landfill fell during rainy season claiming lives of two people. Ghazipur landfill should have been shut 15 years ago.
Also read: How To Protect Your Home From Fire?
However, if experts are to be believed, Ghazipur was never an apt site for a landfill. It is not scientifically equipped with no leachate treatment facility causing the byproducts created during decomposition to move into groundwater. Moreover, it is not designed in compliance with the Municipal Solid Waste Rules of 2000, according to which all large dumpsites should have an eco-friendly garbage management facilities.
Steps being taken
A new site: After the September incident, the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) of Delhi had asked to ban Ghazipur as the dumping site. It was then that the EDMC selected Rani Khera as the new site for a landfill. Rani Khera is a 50-acre site located on the Delhi-Haryana border. The site was identified two years ago but still has not been used by authorities to dump waste. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) recently gave the orders to inspect the land at Rani Khera.
Stabilising the landfill: The EDMC has been taking steps to stabilise the 33-year-old landfill. The corporation recently started fresh waste bio-stabilisation with microbial technology at the Ghazipur landfill. This process will help in converting all organic matter into useful compost. It also partnered with IIT-Delhi to stabilise the landfill by bringing up measures that can stop the caving-in of the mounds. The faculty member of IIT-Delhi will be providing technical advice and expert opinion to the EDMC on stability analysis of the slope of the landfill waste, which is parallel to the canal.