New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday asked the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) 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. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said 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, the National Green Tribunal said. There are heavy metals in the groundwater and other pollution parameters are many times the permissible limit, the green panel said. It said the work to clear waste at the landfill sites should start from October 1 after the monsoon season ends.
For the time being, NGT constituted a committee comprising Delhi chief secretary, secretary urban development, commission of three municipal corporations and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), member secretaries of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to provide technical assistance to manage the sites.
Previously, it had directed the municipal corporations to submit an action-taken report to manage the 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 according to the provisions of the Solid Municipal Waste Rules, 2016, the primary responsibility to manage legacy waste and allied issues are of the municipal corporations.
According to the news report, the groundwater in areas nearby the landfill sites contains heavy metals exceeding the WHO (World Health Organisation) norms, and there is a 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. The NGT was hearing a petition filed by Centre for Wildlife Litigation, through its secretary Bhanu Bansal, and others seeking compliance of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.