Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had, on March 30, announced in the Legislative Assembly that from May onwards, dry and wet garbage will be segregated and scientifically disposed of in the state. Acting on the CM’s cue, the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC), which has faced the ire of the National Green Tribunal, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and hundreds of locals, has finally started to treat its waste by segregating the dry from the wet.
According to deputy civic chief, Dr. Sambhaji Panpatte, the work to segregate the waste began on May 1. “It was primarily due to the NGT order in February 2017,” Panpatte clarified adding that the municipality is still allowed to issue occupation and commencement certificate for any building project.
Since its solid waste management plant at Dhagvi village in Uttan, Bhayander (west), was shut down in 2013, the municipality has been dumping and burning unprocessed garbage in the open. Apart from 8 to 10 tonnes of industrial and biomedical waste, the twin city generates around 500 metric tonnes of garbage every day.
The MBMC has faced a lot of flak for its “lack of environmental concern”. Most recently, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) came down heavily on MBMC in February 2017 and asked the municipality to “scientifically treat” waste or else the corporation will “restrict” issuing occupation and commencement certificate for any building project.
Ever since its inception, the municipal solid waste processing plant has remained in news more for the wrong reasons. Less than five years after the MBMC won praises for being the first civic body in the state to successfully initiate a garbage recycling project in 2008, the plant has ceased it’s recycling operations since October 2013.
Last year, a group called Nagri Hakk Sangharsh Samiti (NHSS) of the affected villagers had approached the NGT complaining mainly of health hazards. The corporation had told the court last year that it has plans to install incineration units and compost plants costing Rs 150 crore.
According to the NGT order issued on February 3, the court observed that “the corporation has failed to take any concrete measures to set up a new facility as contemplated by it at Sakwar village.the corporation is continuing with unscientific dumping of solid waste at the Uttan site, where regular instances of fire are being reported”.
The corporation faced difficulty with no private party coming forward for the proposed project. “On March 6, we finally got a party that has won the tender. Work is underway and by November 2017, the processing unit will be operational. Currently, wet waste is being dumped at the Uttan site and the dry waste is being recycled,” Panpatte added.