GURGAON: Environmentalists have flagged a new dumpsite that is polluting the Aravalisand has already consumed two acres of the seasonal Ghata lake near the Gurgaon-Faridabad border. But it’s the response of MCG -Gurgaon’s municipal body with jurisdiction over the area -that has caused greater alarm than this burgeoning wasteland. MCG has said it can’t, and won’t, prevent anyone from dumping waste in the Aravalis or anywhere else because a court case against a construction and demolition waste treatment plant it has planned has tied its hands.
MCG’s senior town planner, Sudhir Chauhan, told TOI , “Since environmenta lists approached the National Green Tribunal in June and managed to get a stay on the plant, we were left with no option but to allow people to dump waste anywhere.This is why we haven’t taken any step against waste-dumping at Ghata despite several complaints.” As no alternative arrangement could be made for dumping of waste, people are free to dump garbage wherever they want till the ban is lifted.”
The Haryana government wants to build the plant over 55 acres at Basai in Gurgaon but environmentalists have opposed the plan, saying the area is a wetland and a natural habitat for many bird species. A waste plant, they have argued in the NGT, will destroy Basai’s ecology .
In the meantime, the dumping of construction waste -whose volume is very large in Gurgaon because of perpetual, large-scale construction activity -has continued in every available nook and corner, including the rocky terrains of the Aravalis where the city’s other waste dumping site is located. That site, in Bandhwari, is today a cause for serious concern because it has already started contaminating groundwater in that region since the treatment plant there has been defunct since 2013. Another dumpsite puts the Aravalis’ fragile ecosystem under even more threat.
But when a group of residents approached the MCG last Friday, the civic body told them there was nothing it could do. “It is shocking that the MCG refused to help us,” said Vaishali Chandra Rana, an environmentalist. “The latest dumpsite has come up in the middle of a green belt in the Aravali foothills, at the slope of Ghata where the rainwater runoff is maximum. This is disastrous for the environment.”
When TOI visited the site on Monday , local residents said real estate developers had recently started depositing construction waste at the site. Sharmila Kaushik, an environmentalist who lives in the area, said, “Ghata is very eco-sensitive. The dumpsite is close to the jheel. It is not only causing air pollution but is also polluting groundwater. MCG should learn from the Ghazipur mishap that took place in Delhi a few days ago.”
It is shocking that the MCG is taking this devil-may-care attitude towards a landfill coming up in an environmentally sensitive location. The admission by its official to this newspaper that it has refused to do anything despite complaints betrays a complete dereliction of duty. To say that till the proposed waste treatment plant comes up it will have to allow a free for all is simply not acceptable. The MCG must make alternate arrangements till that happens. Anything goes just won’t do.