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Prepare action plan to clear waste at Bhalswa, Ghazipur and Okhla: National Green Tribunal

Prepare action plan to clear waste at Bhalswa, Ghazipur and Okhla: National Green Tribunal
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The National Green Tribunal has directed the Delhi government to prepare an action plan to clear the legacy waste lying at the Bhalswa, Ghazipur and...

New Delhi (PTI): The National Green Tribunal has directed the Delhi government to prepare an action plan to clear the legacy waste lying at the Bhalswa, Ghazipur and Okhla landfill sites within a year.

The green panel said according to the statistics furnished to it, about 1,500 tones per day (TPD) of garbage is being bio-mined as against addition of more than 5,000 TPD in Delhi.

"An action plan be prepared and implemented so as to clear the legacy waste in an expedited timeline but within one year as earlier directed. It needs to be ensured bio-remediation is carried out rather than mere mechanical separation," the NGT said. The tribunal said that since the problem is continuing, there is need to increase the capacity suitably so that the garbage is cleared and land becomes available for public purpose.

"Since we are informed that at Bhalswa, capacity will be shortly increased to 3,300 TPD. The capacity at Okhla and Ghazipur dump sites also needs to be enhanced, the capacity for bio-mining may be further enhanced, at all the three sites," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel said in a recent order. The green panel asked the Central Pollution Control Board to verify that waste clearance is as per norms. It also directed the Board to submit a report. The implementation of action plan be monitored by the chief secretary, Delhi, it added.

"The chief secretary, Delhi may undertake monthly monitoring of the progress and take action if there is default in terms of speed of progress. Failure to comply may result in coercive action, including stoppage of salaries and entries in ACRs of the concerned erring officers," the bench, also comprising justices S P Wangdi and K Ramakrishnan, said. The NGT said, "The administrative difficulties need to be resolved at the administrative level by coordination with the concerned authorities.

The urgency in the matter is also with a view to prevent air pollution and adverse health impact". The NGT had earlier asked the AAP government and civic bodies to deposit Rs 250 crore in an escrow account to facilitate waste removal from landfill sites, and warned no officer will get salaries if they failed to abide by the directive. The tribunal had said that over 28 million tonnes of waste lay at Bhalswa, Ghazipur and Okhla landfill sites. The waste is contaminating the groundwater, which is turning "yellow and orange", and reaching the Yamuna river, the NGT had said. Previously, it had directed the municipal corporations to submit an action-taken report to manage waste after a news report claimed that water had been contaminated in unauthorised habitations near Bhalswa, Ghazipur and Okhla landfill sites. The tribunal had said that according to the provisions of the Solid Municipal Waste Rules, 2016, the primary responsibility to manage legacy waste and allied issues is of the municipal corporations. According to the news report, the groundwater in areas nearby the landfill sites contains heavy metals exceeding the WHO norms, and there is high concentration of chlorine nitrate, ammonia and iron, with pH between 7.5 and 8.5. It said 2,000 metric tons, 2,100 metric tons and 1,200 metric tons of waste was being dumped at Bhalswa, Ghazipur and Okhla sites per day, respectively.

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