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Avoid landfill sites near bank of Yamuna, say environmentalists

NEW DELHI: Landfill sites at the bank of the Yamuna river will affect the river water and increase pollution level, asserted environmental experts after civic agencies decided to set up two landfill sites beside the river.
"Getting more sites for landfills beside the Yamuna will not help, because waste is generated every day and it will mix with the water. Plans need to be made around recycling our waste, so that minimum waste goes to the Yamuna," said an expert, after East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) filed an affidavit in the National Green Tribunal (NGT), pleading that Delhi Development Authority be directed to immediately hand over land at Sonia Vihar and Ghonda Gujran Khadar for landfill sites.
However, both locations fall under zone 'O', or the Yamuna river zone category.
"Delhi's population rises by about 3.5 per cent annually and, going by the government figures, it adds to an additional 1.3 per cent waste in the same period. All four landfills, i.e. Ghazipur, Bhalswa, Okhla and Narela-Bawana, are filled beyond capacity and respective agencies have not done anything. Now they are ready with two spots beside the Yamuna. This will just harm citizens more," said an environmentalist.
Various reports noted that Delhi, with a population of 1.70 crore, generates approximately 8,390 tonnes of waste per day, as per a highly conservative estimate.
On-the-ground research shows that the quantity of waste produced is actually around 12,000 tonnes per day, 80 per cent of which is dumped indiscriminately at various landfill sites by municipal authorities.
Environmentalists and the urban experts also asserted that Delhi, on an average, generates 4,000 MT of construction and demolition (C&D) waste — comprising rubble, broken bricks, concrete pieces etc —per day.
"All this solid mass goes to the Yamuna and the new landfill sites, if they are made, will also add toxic materials to water. In turn, the toxic materials will get mixed up with the drinking water," said experts.
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