To ensure that civic bodies in the state adhere to the 2015 deadline set by the Bombay High Court to set up functional solid waste treatment and processing facilities, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has written to all municipal corporations and councils, including the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), asking them to set aside 25 per cent of their budget for this purpose.
Less than a year for the deadline to lapse, only seven local bodies in the state have submitted an action plan for setting up a solid waste treatment and processing plant to the MPCB up to April.
The HC, in its April 4 order, had made it mandatory for municipal corporations to set up sewage treatment plants and facility to treat and process solid waste.
Since last year, the BMC has been working on a long-term plan to ensure 100 per cent segregation by March 2015, but it is yet to be finalised.
The MPCB letter, sent last Friday, states, “This is the final notice as your corporation has not even provided the action plan for setting up such a facility. Twenty-five per cent of each year’s budget should be spent on solid waste management and towards setting up the waste treatment and processing facility. Please place this letter before the standing committee and take the need approval and inform the pollution control board within 30 days.”
Mumbai’s 25-hectare landfill at Mulund and 75-hectare Deonar landfill receive around 9,500 metric tonnes of waste daily, but none of it is treated. The height of the waste tower at Deonar has reached about 55 metres, as against the 35-metre cap mandated by the Airports Authority of India, said officials from the BMC’s solid waste management department (SWD).
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“The status of waste management in the state is extremely poor and municipal corporations are not being serious about this issue. So, we sent directions to the municipal councils to keep 25 per cent of their budget in an escrow account till a waste treatment plant is in place and fully functional,” said D T Deole, senior law officer of MPCB. So far, the MPCB has forfeited BMC’s bank guarantee of Rs 5 lakh for “unscientific practices” at Mulund landfill.
Meanwhile, the 65.96-hectare landfill at Kanjurmarg has stopped accepting solid waste as it is stuck in litigation over environmental concerns. However, the work on building a bioreactor facility is on.
“We are awaiting final environmental clearances to set up the municipal solid waste processing and disposal facility at Kanjur. Kanjurmarg’s daily capacity will be raised to 6,500 tonnes,” said an official from the SWD department.