Delhi’s green watchdog, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), has warned of a critical environmental crisis if the Capital cannot manage its municipal waste properly.

“The sheer volume of waste generated by Delhi is a huge challenge. We simply have our hands full. The three dumping sites at Ghazipur, Bhalaswa and Okhla are exhausted. There is no space to add waste. Fresh sites are being looked into with the Narela-Bawana Road site now being touted as the newest area,” said DPCC member secretary Sandeep Kumar Mishra.

DPCC claims that it has already informed the Delhi Municipal Corporations of the hazardous practice of continuing to dump into the three exhausted yards (all of them have crossed the 30-metre danger mark height level).

“Delhi is a landlocked State with limited land availability. The mountain of municipal solid waste that we produce every day has to be managed in a manner that will ensure least pollution – water table contamination, air pollution -- and zero health and nuisance value to the human population near the dumping sites,” said Mr. Mishra.

Waste-to-energy plants

Suggesting how to scientifically manage the waste, the DPCC has asked the municipal corporations to make functional waste-to-energy plants that will ensure disposal of waste in an environmentally viable and self-sustainable manner.

“With the Delhi Development Authority stating that there is severe scarcity of land in the Capital, the answer to manage our waste could well be the introduction of waste-to-energy plants, which environmentalists claim is a major health hazard. Delhi has one such plant that is fully functional and we have asked the municipal corporations to start the two plants that we have,” said Mr. Mishra.

“We have told the municipal corporations to close the three dumping sites and develop their own waste-to-energy (burning trash to generate electricity) and composting (to produce manure) plants,” he said.

Meanwhile, labour groups and environmentalists have cautioned against the dependence on waste-to-energy plants.

Environmentalist Gopal Krishna said: “Construction of waste-to-energy plants is an irresponsible move by the Delhi Government to try and manage the growing problem of waste management. The existing Timarpur-Okhla waste-to-energy incinerator has violated every rule in the book including environmental clearance conditions.”

More In: Delhi