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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Thane villagers talk trash

Thane villagers talk trash!

Updated on: 02 March,2024 07:03 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dipti Singh |

Opposition mounts against TMC over garbage disposal methods, residents demand action

Thane villagers talk trash!

Villagers of Daighar have objected to dumping of garbage. Pic/Satej Shinde

Key Highlights

  1. Initiative by TMC to address its solid waste management challenges has encountered trouble
  2. Civic body shifted the dumping site to Daighar Gaon
  3. Residents of Daighar Gaon have initiated protests against the TMC

The recent initiative by the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) to address its solid waste management challenges has encountered trouble once again, with residents expressing concerns about the lack of scientific waste disposal methods, absence of fumigation to mitigate stench, and the absence of a mandatory buffer zone between the dumping site and nearby villages and schools. After protests and opposition from residents of Chauda Gaav regarding the dumping of garbage at Bhandarli, the civic body shifted the dumping site to Daighar Gaon, which was designated for a waste-to-energy project. 

Consequently, residents of Daighar Gaon have initiated protests against the TMC, with some considering legal action, including the possibility of taking the matter to court. Thane currently generates 1,039 tonnes of municipal solid waste daily, with 624 tonnes consisting of wet waste and 390 tonnes comprising dry waste, including inert waste.

Ex-corporator Hira Patil the site
Ex-corporator Hira Patil the site

Previously, the civic body dumped its garbage in Diva, facing accusations of damaging mangroves and subsequently being penalized by the National Green Tribunal. After discontinuing garbage dumping at Diva in February 2023, the garbage was transported to Bhandarli - Chauda Gaav temporarily. However, protests ensued, leading to the clearance of the legacy garbage and the cessation of dumping activities there. In response, the Thane civic body relocated its operations to Daighar Gaon, utilising a plot earmarked for a waste-to-energy treatment plant, resulting in residents alleging that their lives have been made miserable.

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The Chauda Gaav

The temporary dumping ground in the Chauda Gaav area has been utilised by TMC for nine months, resulting in the accumulation of legacy waste amounting to 1 lakh metric tonnes (MT). Residents of a cluster comprising fourteen villages in Thane district have been actively opposing the establishment of the temporary dumping ground in the Chauda Gaav area. The NGT took suo motu action against the TMC in response to a mid-day report.

The solid waste at the site
The solid waste at the site

In an order issued on January 10, 2024, the NGT mandated that the TMC must clear the existing waste or legacy and present a closure plan in the next four months. As part of this directive, the NGT has stipulated that a bank guarantee of R5 lakh is to be deposited with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) within two weeks from the date of the order. If the TMC fails to complete the specified tasks within the given timeframe, the deposited amount will be subject to forfeiture.

Daighar Gaon protest

Residents of Daighar Gaon have been protesting since 2001-02 when the TMC allocated a five-hectare plot from a land parcel reserved for a garden/playground. Initially designated for a waste-to-energy plant, this facility remains unfinished even after two decades, leading to the haphazard dumping of garbage in an unscientific manner. This situation is now posing a health hazard, with many villagers reporting crops rotting, a problem they had never experienced before.

“Despite numerous RTIs filed with the TMC and MPCB to ascertain the intentions of the civic body, most responses have been vague or nonexistent. Recently, we have noticed they have been burning the garbage and then covering it with soil. We have no idea what they are up to, but we have pictorial evidence of this,” said a 73-year-old resident, Sayabai Patil.

Village houses and rice field alongside garbage dumping plot. Pics/Satej Shinde
Village houses and rice field alongside garbage dumping plot. Pics/Satej Shinde

“I have been living here for the past fifty-two years. I have seen relatives from the city coming to our village to enjoy the greener and peaceful environment. Now, with all the stench and flies coming due to the garbage dump, relatives who come leave covering their noses, mocking us, saying it is much better in their place,” added Patil. Echoing Sayabai’s sentiments, another resident, Vasant Mhatre, 72, recounted a recent incident where a family rejected a marriage alliance due to the proximity of their house to the dumping ground, highlighting the adverse effects on their lives.

Hira Patil, former corporator and local NCP leader, emphasised the need for decentralised waste management plants instead of concentrating them in one location, causing inconvenience to residents. Another resident of the village Mangesh Kotharkar told mid-day, “Our village is a very beautiful place. But now TMC is gathering all the garbage from across areas under its jurisdiction in our backyard, making our lives difficult.”

What environmentalists say

Green activist Stalin Dayanand said, “Why should garbage be dumped near villages? Instead, we should adopt better practices like segregation at the source.” He advocated for better waste management practices like segregation at the source. He highlighted the persistent pattern of disregard for environmental concerns by the TMC. Concerns were also raised by Ashish Sinha, director of Om Public School nearby, regarding the impact on the school environment and safety of students due to the garbage dumping.

Aashish Sinha Director of the Om Public School; Resident of the village Mangesh Kotharkar
Aashish Sinha Director of the Om Public School; Resident of the village Mangesh Kotharkar

Clarifying the civic body’s stance, Tushar Pawar, deputy commissioner of Solid Waste Management at TMC, “The residents have been opposing the waste to energy plants. Their allegations are false, we are not using the site as a dumping ground but it is being used as a processing site, where garbage is segregated and sent to landfills and decentralised facilities. While the Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) obtained from the solid waste processing is sent to cement plants.”

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