After toying with the idea of using natural pits of Bhatti Mines in South Delhi for creating a large sanitary landfill site for over two decades, the Delhi Government appears to have done a volte face on the issue. These sites were expected to have met the city’s municipal solid waste disposal requirement. The Government now believes that dumping municipal waste in the ecologically sensitive Bhatti Mines – which being far away from human habitation provided an ideal area in a congested city for disposal of municipal waste -- would lead to an ecological disaster.
While World Bank sponsored studies over the years have noted that through scientific means safe disposal can be ensured at Bhatti Mines, which has “ideal land” for it and even the Master Plan for Delhi-2021 had identified and accepted Bhatti Mines, with an area of 1,500 acres, for disposal of MSW, the Delhi Government no longer supports the idea.
Chief Secretary D. M. Spolia said the Bhatti Mines are now being greened and dumping of municipal waste there would lead to an ecological disaster.
However, as Court records suggest, for many years the Sheila Dikshit Government did not raise these concerns.
About a decade ago, a study conducted by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur, (NEERI) had showed that the MCD needs about 1,500 acres of land to meet the requirement for disposal of garbage for the next 20 years but possesses only about 10 per cent (or 150 acres).
Another study by consultant GHK International, United Kingdom, and Operation Research Group India, which was sponsored by World Bank for the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest and the Delhi Government, had considered all parameters and had in December 2000 concluded that Bhatti Mines is an ideal landfill site for disposal of MSW for the next 25 years.
“With no water body in the area, the ground water table is low, and so no environmental degradation is likely. The area can improve through extensive plantation after closure as was the case with Millennium Park on Ring Road,” the municipal bodies had also submitted in the Court.