Reclaiming Bhalaswa landfill site will take at least 10 years

Source: Hindustan Times
Date: May 03, 2013

PK Gupta, the north commissioner, says educating the masses on segregation of waste is a big challenge and also a work in progress. Excerpts from an interview. The landfill at Bhalaswa exhausted its lifespan long time back. Will the Narela-Bawana road landfill suffice for entire north Delhi?

The Narela-Bawana road site is meant for only two zones — Civil Lines and Rohini. Waste from the other four zones of north Delhi goes to the Bhalaswa landfill site. We are also building a waste-to-energy plant at Narela, tenders for which have already been floated.

But the waste-to-energy plant at Okhla continues to face protests because of environmental concerns.
Technology-wise, the plant we are building will be different. One major issue is that the Okhla plan is situated in a congested area, but the plant at Narela is not.

Delhi’s environment department says waste in Delhi is not fit for burning.
Direct burning of waste is not allowed. However, waste-to-energy plants are the only way of utilising and recycling garbage.

When will the process to reclaim the Bhalaswa landfill begin? And how long will it take?
Consultants have been hired to carry out a detailed study which will take two-three months. Work will start in a year and should be complete in 10 years. Only 20 per cent inert garbage will be dumped at the Narela-Bawana road landfill. The work will start by next year.

Door-to-door collection began in two zones. How has the response been?
The firm’s performance has been just about average as they lack manpower and machinery. There are several places where they are not collecting garbage on a daily basis.

Segregation of garbage at source, which would ease much burden on the landfill, has been a challenge. How are you going to deal with this problem? 
It is a big challenge. We are trying to educate the masses. At some places, there are two separate bins, but people are not utilising them properly. Evolution of any system takes time. Hopefully in the near future people will learn the importance of waste segregation.

The Delhi High Court on Friday expressed serious concern over the failure of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the government to find new sites in the capital for dumping garbage. It summoned top officials of the trifurcated Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), DDA and the government to discuss the "alarming situation".


Overflowing landfills force HC to crack whip

Source: Hindustan Times
Date: April 27, 2013

The issue acquired urgency as the dumping sites at Bhalaswa, Ghazipur and Okhla, the court believed, had reached their saturation points. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has already suggested banning of further dumping at these sites.
The court was hearing a petition filed by the MCD, accusing the DDA of not allotting them new sites despite an order by the Supreme Court way back in 2000.
Justice GS Sistani asked the DDA vice-chairman, the commissioners of the three municipal corporations and the secretary of the urban development ministry to be present in court on May 14 and submit a blueprint in this regard.
The chief secretary of Delhi has been asked to convene a meeting of all these officials before the next court hearing to discuss the issue.
"The situation is alarming. But all that is happening now is passing of buck by the MCD, DDA and the government on the issue of finding new sites. Obviously the initiative has to be taken by DDA which is the land owning agency," Sanjiv Sen, the amicus curiae (lawyer assisting the court) in the case told the court.
Sumeet Pushkarna, counsel for the municipal corporations, told the court that they were being forced to continue to use the present sites despite the risk of loss of human life and property. "DDA needs to consider from a list of new sites that we have suggested," the lawyer said. The MCD's plea to allow use of large pits in the sprawling Bhatti mines area as landfill sites is already pending before the court but environmentalists are opposed to the suggestion.


Several colonies get sewage in place of water
Source: Hindustan Times
Date: April 19, 2013

Contaminated water supply is a major cause of health hazards, especially in unplanned colonies in Delhi. For some buying bottled water is eating into family income while for others medical bill are only mounting. Delhi Jal Board’s apathy remains a common thread.
Bhalswa re-settlement colony
With no provision of DJB supply at the Shraddhanand Colony in Bhalswa, regular fights erupt among residents when the tanker reaches them once a week. For other usage, almost every house has a hand pump. And that’s where the problem begins. 
“I’ve already been operated twice due to complications arising out of water contamination. We had to sell our house to pay the R2-lakh hospital bill,” says Shehnaz Begum, who spends R900, or 13% of her family income on bottled water every month.
 “Toxic chemicals seeping into the groundwater due to the nearby Bhalswa landfill site have rendered groundwater unfit for use. Since groundwater is the major source of water supply here, water-related diseases have become a norm,” said Manmohan Singh of NGO Lok Shakti Manch.

Chandni Chowk
Water woes of the residents of Dawai Tola and Chatta Sheeshawallah Lane go back almost a decade. Despite paying their bills to the water utility, they are hard-pressed for piped water. And areas where supply is better the quality of water is not suitable for drinking. 
“We get water only once a day at around 5 am, that too only for 15-20 minutes. It is very dirty to say the least,” said Mushtaq Ali, 65.

“The pipeline is corrugated and is never maintained by the DJB. We have complained many a times to different authorities but no action has been taken,” said Wasi Khan, a father of two school-going children.
Sangam Park, near Rana Pratap Bagh
It is almost impossible for residents to stay indoors when municipal water reaches them twice a day. The water, jet black in colour, has an unbearable stench. “Drinking water is mixing with sewer which we are forced to use toilet, bathing and cleaning purposes,” said Hardeep Singh.
“Diseases such as skin infection, diarrhoea and stomach-ache have become common,” he added.