Waste seg­re­ga­tion goes for a toss

SPOT CHECK Waste sep­a­rated at source com­pacted to­gether at trans­fer sta­tion and sent to land­fill

Hindustan Times (Gurugram) - - Ht Gurugram - Anu­rit Kanti & Prayag Arora­De­sai htre­porters@htlive.com ■

› Rich or­ganic mat­ter is be­ing clubbed with a va­ri­ety of soft and hard plas­tic pa­per, car­tons, cloth, dirt and sludge. RUCHIKA SETHI, green ac­tivist and › found­ing mem­ber of CFCA We have in­stalled ma­te­rial re­cov­ery tech­nol­ogy for se­condary seg­re­ga­tion...we found that seg­re­ga­tion is not pos­si­ble be­yond a point. › A AG­GAR­WAL, CEO, Ecogreen We have planned to make the seg­re­ga­tion hap­pen and are now putting Ecogreen on no­tice to fol­low the waste man­age­ment rules. Y YA­DAV, MCG com­mis­sioner

No seg­re­ga­tion of waste is be­ing car­ried out at Gurugram’s three trans­fer sta­tions at Atul Kataria Chowk, Beri­wala Bagh and DLF-5, re­vealed mul­ti­ple spot vis­its by Hin­dus­tan Times over the last month.

It was also found that waste, which had been pre­vi­ously seg­re­gated at source (by RWAs and waste col­lec­tors) was be­ing com­pacted to­gether be­fore be­ing land­filled. Work­ers at all three trans­fer sta­tions con­firmed that mixed waste was be­ing com­pacted and then dumped at Band­hwari land­fill.

“At present, rich or­ganic mat­ter is be­ing clubbed with a va­ri­ety of soft and hard plas­tic pa­per, small car­ton boxes, cloth, dirt, sludge, san­i­tary waste, bro­ken glass and other trash at the trans­fer sta­tions,” said Ruchika Sethi, a found­ing mem­ber of Cit­i­zens for Clean Air (CFCA), an ac­tivist group that has been ad­vo­cat­ing for law­ful waste man­age­ment in Gurugram.

This cur­rent prac­tice at the trans­fer sta­tions, ac­cord­ing to en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists and ex­perts, is in vi­o­la­tion of the Solid Waste Man­age­ment Rules, no­ti­fied by the min­istry of en­vi­ron­ment and forests in 2016. The rules state that waste must first be seg­re­gated at source and then at a waste col­lec­tion cen­tre (such as a trans­fer sta­tion). This process is meant to en­sure that wet, or­ganic waste and dry, san­i­tary waste are sep­a­rated, af­ter which they can then be utilised for dif­fer­ent pur­poses. While or­ganic waste is to be com­posted, dry waste can ei­ther be con­verted into re­fusederived fuel (RDF) and used in waste-to-en­ergy (WTE) plants, or land­filled.

“In fact, by com­pact­ing waste that was seg­re­gated, they are un­do­ing a good prac­tice that should be pro­moted among RWAs,” said Rekha Singh, an ap­proved en­vi­ron­ment ex­pert from Qual­ity Coun­cil of In­dia (MoEF & CC) and a spe­cial­ist in mu­nic­i­pal waste man­age­ment.

Ecogreen En­ergy, which is the Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion of Gurugram’s con­ces­sion­aire for waste man­age­ment, re­cently set up the three trans­fer sta­tions in the city, as part of its in­te­grated waste man­age­ment plan for Gurugram.

At a press con­fer­ence on Au­gust 1, Ecogreen En­ergy’s CEO, Ankit Ag­gar­wal, men­tioned that the pur­pose of the trans­fer sta­tions was to pre­vent fur­ther open dump­ing of waste and to fa­cil­i­tate se­condary seg­re­ga­tion of waste, be­fore send­ing it to Band­hwari for land­fill­ing.

Ag­gar­wal on Satur­day con­firmed that mixed waste was be­ing com­pacted at the trans­fer sta­tions, and that pre­vi­ously seg­re­gated waste was be­ing mixed to­gether. He said, “At the trans­fer sta­tions, we have in­stalled MRT (ma­te­rial re­cov­ery tech­nol­ogy) for se­condary seg­re­ga­tion of waste. How­ever, we have found that it is not pos­si­ble to seg­re­gate waste be­yond a cer­tain point us­ing this tech­nol­ogy. So, at the mo­ment, we are com­pact­ing mixed waste and dump­ing it at Band­hwari,” he said.

Ag­gar­wal added that bet­ter seg­re­ga­tion tech­nol­ogy would be in­stalled at the Band­hwari site by Au­gust 2019, af­ter which “waste would be seg­re­gated us­ing a mech­a­nised process into or­ganic (com­postable) and refuse-de­rived fuel. The or­ganic por­tion will be com­posted and RDF will be used for power gen­er­a­tion.” How­ever, un­til then, com­pacted mixed waste will con­tinue to be dumped there.

Singh warned against the prac­tice. “It is ex­tremely hard to me­chan­i­cally seg­re­gate waste that is left in a mixed state for so long,” she said.

Singh also ex­plained that dump­ing mixed waste in Band­hwari, as is be­ing done, would ex­ac­er­bate the leachate prob­lem, which has caused wide­spread dam­age to the sur­round­ing ecol­ogy, and to hu­man health as well. “Or­ganic mat­ter is moist and leads to the for­ma­tion of leachate. It should not be land­filled in any in­stance, for any pe­riod of time. The cur­rent prac­tice is not cor­rect,” she added.

Some ac­tivists al­leged that seg­re­ga­tion is not be­ing done to en­sure fi­nan­cial gain, as the agency is paid ₹1,200 per tonne.

Ecogreen En­ergy has de­nied th­ese al­le­ga­tions. “Wet waste, whether com­pacted or not, will be sent to the plant as com­post­ing will hap­pen at a cen­tral­ized lo­ca­tion only.”

Yash­pal Ya­dav, MCG com­mis­sioner, said, “We have planned to make the seg­re­ga­tion hap­pen and are now putting Ecogreen on no­tice to fol­low the SWM rules.”

YOGENDRA KU­MAR/HT PHO­TOS

■ The prac­tice of com­pact­ing waste by mix­ing it at the trans­fer sta­tions, ac­cord­ing to en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists and ex­perts, is in vi­o­la­tion of the Solid Waste Man­age­ment Rules, no­ti­fied by the min­istry of en­vi­ron­ment and forests in 2016.

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