Mumbai: Under pressure from High Court, BMC dumps waste at Kanjurmarg

Updated: May 06, 2019, 07:46 IST | Arita Sarkar

But, Kanjurmarg locals furious with civic body's bid to reduce garbage at Deonar dumpyard

Mumbai: Under pressure from High Court, BMC dumps waste at Kanjurmarg
The Deonar dumping yard lacks a waste-to-energy plant and is thus home to huge mountains of garbage

Having failed to get any bidders for their Rs 400 crore waste to energy project at the Deonar dumping ground, the civic body has come up with an alternative - to gradually divert the solid waste from Deonar to the bioreactor plant in the Kanjurmarg dumping ground instead. Residents from Bhandup, Vikhroli and other areas around the dumping ground at Kanjurmarg are, however, are not too happy with the civic body's 'solution'.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had first floated a tender for the waste to energy plant in 2016. Lack of available technology and suitable contractors had created a roadblock then. After two tenders and four extensions, the situation hasn't changed yet.

Last month, the Bombay High Court had given a final extension to dump solid waste at the Deonar dumping ground till December. The mounting pressure compelled the BMC to come up with an alternative.

Abhay Rane and Pawan Nandkumar
Abhay Rane and Pawan Nandkumar

Over the past couple of months, the BMC has been reducing the quantity of waste sent to Deonar and has instead been sending it to Kanjurmarg. "The capacity of the bioreactor plant at Kanjurmarg has doubled since it started and today it can process 6,000 metric tonnes of solid waste. Over the next three to four months, the aim is to continue to reduce the solid waste being sent to Deonar until all of it is being sent to Kanjurmarg instead," said a civic official from the solid waste management department.

In January, around 3,000 metric tonnes of garbage was being sent to Deonar, as on April 21, the figure stands at 950 metric tonnes. At Kanjurmarg, however, from 4,000 metric tonnes of garbage in January, the garbage quantity went up to 5,200 metric tonnes in April. The dumping ground at Kanjurmarg has a composting plant that can process around 1,000 metric tonnes of waste. Active promotion of segregation of waste across the city has also had an impact in reducing the quantity of solid waste transported here.

While the BMC may consider this as a solution to the Deonar problem, it's a nightmare for people living around the Kanjurmarg dumping ground. Like many others in his locality, for Abhay Rane, a resident of Kannamwar Nagar, Vikhroli, the stench has increased considerably over the past couple of months. "The smell of the garbage has always been a problem in our area since we live very close to the dumping ground. But in the past two to three months, it has increased significantly. We are all forced to keep the windows shut in the evening which is when they start the plant," he said.

Rane has complained to the civic authorities several times but the only explanation he gets is that they are looking into ways to reduce the stench. "This issue has resulted in lower rents and no one wants to buy a property here. We have been trying to find a builder for re-development but no one is willing to take up a project in this area," he said.

Pawan Nandkumar, an environmentalist and a resident of Bhandup village says, "Between 10 pm and early morning hours, we have to close our windows because the smell is the maximum. If the BMC had been following the SWM rules of segregation, this problem wouldn't have arisen at all and no waste would have to be brought to the dumping ground," he said.

Environmentalist Anil Hebbar who contested as an independent candidate in the Lok Sabha elections from Mumbai North East, focused on this issue as part of his campaign. He said people living in Ghatkopar, Vikhroli, Kanjurmarg, Mulund and Bhandup have been regularly facing this problem. "Even those who live in high-rises have to bear the stench. The BMC has to find a solution by strictly implementing a decentralised waste management system," he said.

Also Read: High Court quashes BMC's capital value rules as basis for property tax

Even if the civic body decides to deal with the fresh solid waste produced every day, it is yet to figure out what to do with the mountains of existing waste known as legacy waste at the Deonar dumping ground. Spread out over 120 hectares of land, civic officials estimate that there is around 100 lakh metric tonnes of solid waste
at Deonar.

Colossal waste!
Daily average waste taken to Deonar (in metric tonnes)
January 3,000
February 2,573
March 1,487
April (till April 21) 954

Daily average waste taken to Kanjurmarg (in metric tonnes)
January 4,000
February 4,200
March 4,800
April 5,200

Also Read: Mumbai: Repairs yet to begin on 150 of the city's roads

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