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With three landfills shut, Delhi becomes overflowing trash can

Amid protests, Police to accompany garbage trucks to alternate site today

Written by Aniruddha Ghosal | New Delhi |
Updated: October 13, 2019 4:50:38 pm
Maintenance work underway at Ghazipur landfill, Monday. Praveen Khanna

With three landfills closed in the wake of the Ghazipur landfill collapse that caused two deaths, and the alternate dumping site witnessing protests by locals, civic agencies did not collect waste from the city’s roads on Monday. The result: dhalaos have started overflowing as the capital potentially sits at the brink of a massive garbage crisis. Following the deaths, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal had ordered that garbage will no longer be dumped at Ghazipur. Similar orders followed for the Bhalswa landfill. On Monday, officials of the Okhla landfill confirmed that they, too, would no longer be using the site. As a result, there is no space for garbage to be dumped.

While land at Rani Khera was picked as the ‘temporary’ landfill site, the decision faced massive protests by residents.

An EDMC official maintained, “The Delhi Police advised us not to take the garbage to the site today… as it was a religious festival and there would be heavy traffic movement. On Tuesday, the trucks will go to the site to dump the waste with police deployment.” This was confirmed by North and East MCD spokesperson Yogendra Mann.

Delhi produces 10,000 tonnes of garbage every day. Of this, 2,500 tonnes from east Delhi used to go to Ghazipur landfill, a part of the 4,000 tonnes of garbage from north Delhi to the Bhalswa landfill, and the 3,500 tonnes of garbage from south Delhi to Okhla.

On Monday, all of this was on the roads. At Kalkaji A-block, for instance, the contents of a dhalao close to a primary school lay scattered on the road. While dogs, crows and cows enjoyed a feast, residents fumed. “The entire situation is maddening. How can we live like this? There is a school here and we are worried that the children will fall sick,” said Harpreet Singh, a resident of South Park Apartments.

Similar scenes were witnessed in other areas. At east Delhi’s New Ashok Nagar, residents said the garbage hadn’t been collected for three days. “No one has come to collect the waste. The situation has become worse after the rain,” Manoj Kumar, a resident, said.

For now, the civic agencies are relying on clearance from the NGT for the proposed new site — on land allotted by the DDA — at Ghonda Gujral in Wazirabad. In the meantime, they hope they will be allowed to dump the waste temporarily at Rani Khera.

Officials, however, remained doubtful. “I honestly don’t think residents will allow garbage to be dumped there. Why will they agree? This has always been the problem. Right now, it is a problem with no solution because the time to have actually done something about it was a decade ago. All these years, we have been screaming ourselves hoarse but no one took us seriously,” a senior EDMC official said.

Meanwhile, at Rani Khera, residents continued their protest. “We have been sitting here for 36 hours now, and we will continue to sit here till they tell us that the decision to make it a dumping site has been taken back,” Sudha Devi, a resident, said.

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