For the last two years the Municipal Council, Baddi and BBNDA have openly been dumping municipal waste of Baddi town in Kenduwal village which has become a potential health hazard and nuisance for the residents of nearby villages. Since the last 4 months the local villagers, distraught by the illegal dump, have been petitioning several authorities for stopping the dumping. Now, the BBNDA instead of cleaning up and ensuring scientific disposal of the garbage is covering the dump with mud.
Last week we met with the BBNDA officials and asked them to stop putting the garbage there. Not only are they continuing to dump the garbage but they have over the last five days put piles of mud to cover the stinking heaps of garbage. We are being told that the area will now be turned into a shed and our problem will be solved” said Ghulam Nabi a resident of Kenduwal in front of whose home the piles of garbage has come up.
It needs to be noted that the BBNDA had proposed a 970 crore Integrated Solid Waste Management facility in the area in 2012 and got a clearance for the same in 2015. But for the last three years it made no move to set up the plant and was dumping in violation of the Solid Waste Management guidelines 2016 as well as the environment clearance conditions.
On 12th and 13th August, the Sirsa River flooded and the dumping site which is adjacent to the river became waterlogged making the rotting garbage stink badly. The boundary wall was then broken to release the water from the dumping site and the contaminated water eventually made its way into the Sirsa River.
“Now they are just burying the garbage and the leachate will contaminate the groundwater too”, said Ramanathan of Himdhara Collective a watchdog group that monitors environmental issues in Himachal.
“Through an RTI application we have learned that the Regional Office of PCB in Baddi has served 5 show cause notices since 2016 in the matter to the Municipal Council, but no further actions were taken”, he added
The BBNDA in a statement in a newspaper on the 19th of September has claimed that it has finally identified the firm from Ludhiana for setting up the Solid Waste Management facility.
“If they have identified a company to set up the disposal plant why did they cover up the garbage, rather than letting the company take care of it. This is not a solution and neither is it in compliance with the guidelines of solid waste management” said Ramanathan.
While BBNDA has gone into damage control mode it still seems least concerned about the laws or the demands of the people.
“Our demand is clear, we want this nuisance removed and a proper waste management plant should be set up in an appropriate location. Not near the river or in front of people’s homes”, added Nabi
The Solid Waste Management Rules have clear criteria on siting of waste management plants and landfills which cannot be on floodplains or near habitations.
“Municipal Solid waste has become a serious nuisance across the state of Himachal and an NGT appointed committee has recently asked all states to formulate their waste management plans in compliance with SWM rules within a month”, said Manshi Asher of Himdhara Collective.
“Long term solution of solid waste requires an integrated approach involving resident welfare associations of municipal areas, waste pickers and municipal bodies. Decentralised segregation and disposal at source would help to reduce the quantum of waste” Asher added.