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Bandhwari landfill in the middle of the eco sensitive Aravallis in India’s National Capital Region where 2000 tons of Gurgaon and Faridabad’s unsegregated waste is dumped everyday is estimated to have 35 lakh plus tonnes of mixed waste. The toxic leachate coming out of the landfill has contaminated the ground water adversely impacting health of people, wildlife and cattle in the region. Most villagers here either know someone who is suffering from cancer or has died from it.
To make matters worse, the Haryana government is in the process of setting up a waste to energy plant at this site. On the basis of a faulty Environment Impact Assessment Report that the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon furnished to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, environmental clearance for a 15 MW waste to energy plant has been given in November 2019. On 31st August 2021, the Haryana government authorities held a public hearing to get citizens’ views on increasing the capacity of the waste to energy plant from 15 to 25 MW. This is a video of the public hearing in which the citizens from Gurgaon, Faridabad, Delhi and the villages of Bandhwari, Manger, Gwal Pahadi etc around the landfill said a resounding “NO” to the government’s plan to set up the waste to energy (WTE) plant in the Aravallis.
REASONS FOR CITIZENS OBJECTIONS:
1) Negative impact of the toxic emissions from the waste to energy plant on the health of people already reeling under impacts of bad air quality in NCR will be disastrous. According to Dr. Shailendra Bhadoriya, Cardiologist at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Delhi: “The number of asthma patients admitted to intensive care units has gone up since the Okhla WTE plant was set up.”
A September 2020 report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) showed that the 3 waste to energy plants located in the Okhla, Bawana and Ghazipur areas of Delhi are releasing a toxic mix of chemicals such as Dioxins, Furans, PM 2.5 and Bottom Ash into the environment. Why do we need another polluting waste to energy plant in the National Capital Region which will play havoc with the health of people by increasing air pollution and diseases like cancer, cardio-vascular diseases, respiratory disorders? Bandhwari and the nearby cities of Gurgaon and Faridabad are already in the list of most polluted places in India.
2) Site for the proposed waste to energy plant is a very critical water recharge zone for the National Capital Region. Toxic ash coming out of the proposed WTE plant at Bandhwari will pollute the air and contaminate the underground water aquifers feeding the NCR cities threatening the life of millions of residents.
3) This stretch of the Aravallis where the waste to energy plant is proposed is very rich in wildlife.
4) Waste to energy model has failed in India. Out of about 11 waste to energy plants set up in India till now, more than half have closed down like the ones in Kanpur, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Vijayawada, Karimnagar etc. Most cities in India still collect unsegregated, mixed waste, which has high moisture content as a result of the food waste (60%+). As compared to Western countries, the calorific value of municipal waste in India is very low so they use additional fuel like diesel to burn, which makes these plants extremely expensive to run and polluting as well.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had inspected the Bandhwari landfill site on 4th February 2020 and submitted a report to the National Green Tribunal which states: “Arrangements made by Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon’s waste management concessionaire Ecogreen to obtain refuse derived fuel (RDF) at Bandhwari landfill are inadequate and quality of RDF generated is unfit to be incinerated to generate electricity.”
5) 5) Incapability of Eco Green, the agency entrusted with managing Gurgaon and
Faridabad cities’ waste:
Ecogreen has been regularly slapped with multiple fines by various government agencies on account of breach of contract, open burning of waste, improper door to door collection etc.
On 7 Nov 2019, HSPCB imposed INR 25 lakh fine for open waste burning and in September 2018 NGT imposed INR 2.5 lakh fine for environmental damage caused around Bandhwari landfill.
In spite of such terrible performance and regular flaunting of rules by Eco Green, instead of discontinuing their contract and blacklisting them, how can the Haryana government entrust Ecogreen with a complex project like operating a waste to energy plant, which will require top notch technical competency, highest level of operational efficiency, continuous monitoring, and ethical reporting, when Eco green is not even able to deliver upon the simple task of collection of 100% segregated waste from the cities of Gurgaon and Faridabad in the last 4 years?
DEMANDS OF CITIZENS
1) Cancel plan to make waste to energy plant in the eco-sensitive Aravallis.
a) Permission for the 15 MW capacity waste to energy (WTE) plant in the Aravallis given in November 2019 by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change should be revoked.
b) No further permission for expansion of WTE capacity to 25 MW must be given.
2) Scrap the 22 year old contract with inefficient firm Eco Green. Integrate waste pickers and waste workers to replace Eco Green in Gurgaon and Faridabad.
3) Eliminate 35 lakh+ tons of legacy waste at Bandhwari landfill by implementing Bioremediation.
4) Strictly enforce Solid Waste Management Rules 2016 based on source segregation of waste and decentralised waste management in Gurgaon and Faridabad
5) Set targets to reduce quantum of waste generated by putting ban on single use plastic items.