EVEN as the Bombay High Court’s November deadline to close the Mulund and Deonar dumping grounds nears, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) might seek a further extension to end the city’s landfill mess. Senior officials from the solid waste management (SWM) department of the civic body confirmed that unless the BMC set up a waste-to-energy plant in Deonar, it cannot shut the dumping grounds.
Mooted in 2012, the BMC’s plans for setting up a waste-to-energy plant has been facing constant bureaucratic delays. Last month, the civic body had also re-tendered the project. The plant will be established on 10 acres of the 120-acre space currently used for dumping waste, officials said.
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“The plant will process 1,500-2,000 metric tonnes of waste. While we can close the dumping ground in Mulund in another month, we have to wait to set up the plant in Deonar. Otherwise, we will have no alternative site to dump the waste,” a senior civic official said.
Mumbai’s total waste generation is approximately 10,500 tonnes, of which 3,700 tonnes are sent to the Deonar dumping ground, another 2,600 tonnes to the dumping ground at Mulund and 3,000 tonnes to Kanjurmarg. About 1,200 tonnes are debris and silt collected by the corporation on an everyday basis.
Currently, Kanjurmarg is the only waste site where garbage is processed scientifically. The civic body recently got permission from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to increase the intake of Kanjurmarg by another 3,000 metric tonnes. This move, civic officials said, will help reduce the burden at Mulund and Deonar.
The authorities are also planning to expand the space used for dumping waste in Kanjurmarg. “We are currently utilising only 65 hectares of the total
144 hectares in Kanjurmarg. We are seeking environmental clearances to increase that space,” the official added.
The High Court recently rapped the civic body for its waste-management system. Besides, the court said if the current situation continued, it would pass an order restricting further permission being granted to new construction. Even related projects that the High Court had asked the BMC to undertake in a year are far from over. Those include setting up processing plants, practising waste segregation and finalising on an alternative dump yard.