New Delhi : A high level meeting was held today by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) to discuss the progress made in the remediation of the three legacy dumpsites in Okhla, Ghazipur and Bhalswa in Delhi. The meeting, chaired by Secretary, MoHUA was attended by senior officials of various Ministries and organisations, viz. Additional Secretary (Delhi)- MoHUA, Additional Secretary- MoEF&CC, Secretary-Urban Development, UT of Delhi, Vice Chairman-Delhi Development Authority, Commissioners of all MCDs, representatives from Central Pollution Control Board, National Thermal Power Corporation, and National Highways Authority of India.
The issue of legacy dumpsites across cities in India is a source of continuing environmental concern. The Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban (2.0) (SBM-U 2.0) being implemented by MoHUA, has taken up the challenge in a targeted manner, in a first of its kind initiative in the country. The focus of SBM-U 2.0 is now on addressing both ends of the Solid Waste management chain, viz. managing generation as well as safe disposal of municipal solid waste in a sustainable manner, to ensure that no new dumpsites are created going forward, and all legacy dumpsites are remediated. Accordingly, the Mission is focusing on source segregation of solid waste, collection and transportation of the segregated waste fractions, ensuring compliance by Bulk Waste Generators (entities generating more than 100 kg of waste per day) to manage their own waste, maximum resource recovery and scientific waste processing of all segregated fractions of waste (including plastic waste) to prevent untreated fresh waste from ending up in landfills, and bio-remediating all legacy dumpsites across the country to recover 15,000 acres of prime real estate buried under nearly 16 crore tonnes of legacy waste. Along with this, Mission has made provision for scientific landfills to dispose of untreated inerts and process rejects, to prevent fresh dumpsites being created. This has also been complemented by the directives of National Green Tribunal which has made it mandatory for all legacy dumpsites to be remediated in a time-bound manner. Parallely, MoHUA has been investing in focused capacity building and behavior change interventions among all stakeholders to bolster these efforts.
Towards this end, MoHUA has already approved dumpsite remediation projects worth ₹4,152 crores to remediate 963 lakh metric tonnes of legacy dumpsites occupying nearly 5,700 acres in more than 600 Urban Local Bodies across 14 States/ UTs. The approved amount includes projects worth ₹776 crores to remediate 253 lakh metric tonnes covering 186 acres across 3 MCDs of Delhi. Of the approved amounts, Central assistance of ₹529 crores has already been released to States/ UTs as first instalments, including ₹174 crores released to Govt of Delhi. As per financial norms of Centrally sponsored Schemes, State/ UT governments are required to put in matching share from their own side, while disbursing the funds to respective ULBs.
The three MCDs reported that they collectively generate 11,000 tonnes per day of solid waste, of which approx. 5,900 tonnes per day are being scientifically processed at present, at 3 waste-to-energy plants situated at Narela Bawana, Okhla and Ghazipur sites. At the three dumpsites, a total of approximately 42 lakh metric tonnes have been remediated till date, but the balance untreated fresh waste that continues to be dumped at these sites offsets whatever remediation has happened till now.
During today’s meeting, it was emphasized that the key to attracting private sector participation in this sector was robust source segregation which would enable subsequent processing of waste. All MCDs were urged to step up their efforts to segregate their waste at source. It was further decided that MCDs and DDA would jointly discuss and settle all land related issues in order to facilitate the remediation process. DDA was also requested to explore opportunities to use less than 6 mm fractions of inerts as soil enricher in their horticulture and bio-diversity parks, to the extent feasible. In terms of funding issues pertaining to remediation, it was decided that Government of Delhi would explore possibilities for considering the Green Cess Funds for transportation of excavated legacy waste, since dumpsite remediation would contribute to reduction of air pollution in Delhi. Parallelly, the MCDs were requested to undertake detailed analysis for optimizing process costs for dumpsite remediation, with comprehensive projectisation, and strong project monitoring measures. It was also decided that MoHUA would deploy an independent agency to study the monitoring mechanisms carried out in cities including at Delhi and share the best practices of incorporating high quality monitoring at sites. As an immediate follow-up, Govt of Delhi was requested to disburse the Central share of funds released by MoHUA to all MCDs, after adding the requisite UT share to the funds. MCDs were further requested to prepare detailed proposals for managing the fresh waste being generated daily and send the proposals to MoHUA with due approval of State Govt, so as to ensure that no additional dumpsites are created.