On management of Bandhwari landfill, NGT asks Haryana to take ownership of basic responsibilities

The principal bench of the Tribunal was hearing a plea seeking remedial action for an estimated 33 lakh tonne of legacy waste at the landfill site, which is leading to discharge of leachate, causing contamination of ground and surface water.

The National Green Tribunal on Wednesday asked Haryana to take ownership of its basic responsibilities while hearing a plea on management of legacy waste at Bandhwari landfill in Gurgaon.

The principal bench of the Tribunal was hearing a plea seeking remedial action for an estimated 33 lakh tonne of legacy waste at the landfill site, which is leading to discharge of leachate, causing contamination of ground and surface water.

The municipal corporation of Gurgaon had submitted a new action plan before the tribunal earlier this month, which mentioned that a total of 2.39 lakh tonne of waste has been bio-remediated and processed so far.

The bench noted, “It is established on record that so far there has been serious failure of the authorities in performing their responsibility under the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 to effectuate the right of the citizens to clean environment.”

“Though an action plan has now been filed, whether the municipal corporations concerned and the Urban Development Department of the State of Haryana execute the same in a mission mode and within reasonable time remains a moot question,” the bench headed by chairperson justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, added in the order made public on Thursday.

The bench added that it has been monitoring planned remedial action of the landfill site by the municipal corporation for more than five years.

On March 9, the bench found the progress on the site disappointing, as out of 33 lakh tonne of waste, less than 1 lakh tonne was remediated in the last one year.

“Since the Tribunal has already monitored the failures of the authorities for sufficiently long time, the state must now take ownership of its basic responsibility in the interest of rule of law, protection of environment and public health,” the bench observed in the latest order.

The new action plan made jointly by the municipal corporations of Gurgaon and Faridabad states that a total of 17 trommels have been installed at the site to process 5,100 tonne per day of waste.

“The first step is to excavate legacy waste, loosen it and make windrows so that the leachate can be dried up through solar exposure and all the entrapped methane is removed from the heap before bio-mining. The waste is stabilised, which takes four weeks, and a bio-culture solution is sprayed for enhancing the decomposition, after which stabilised waste is sent to screening through trommel,” the action plan states.

It added that refuse-derived fuel from the waste is being routed to cement industries and waste-to-energy plants through eight agencies, while compost is being used in gardens and inert waste for filing low lying areas.

A drone survey done of the landfill site on March 3 revealed that the current height of the landfill has been reduced to 36 metres from 40 metres, the action plan stated.

Two monitoring committees at state and municipal corporation level have also been set up to oversee management of the site, the plan stated.

“The authorities may take further remedial action consistent with earlier orders of this Tribunal… Having regard to serious past failures and sensitivity of the issue, the Chief Secretary, Haryana, may personally monitor compliances periodically,” the NGT bench said in the order.

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