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Shifting city’s garbage disposal site poses problem
Ajit Patowary

 GUWAHATI, July 12 - The State government is facing problems of lack of infrastructure for shifting Guwahati city’s municipal solid waste (MSW) disposal site from West Boragaon site on the eastern fringe of Deepor Beel Ramsar Site wetland to the identified site at Chandrapur. It has, therefore, decided to ask the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) to make all-out efforts to minimize the pollution threat to the world famous wetland. This arrangement will continue until selection of an alternative site for the disposal of the MSW.

This has been learnt from the affidavit submitted by the State government before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) recently in Original Application Number 472/2018 on the Deepor Beel matters filed by RTI-cum-environment activist Rohit Choudhury against the Union government and others.

For the purpose, the State government said in its affidavit that the GMC would segregate the MSW at the sources in all the municipal wards. It would also use Poclane 200 machines to dig up the existing MSW at West Boragaon and remove the plastics and other non-biodegradable items with the help of rag pickers. The recovered plastics may be handed over to the interested agencies for recycling. The biodegradable waste thus left out at the site would be used as raw material for compost plant.

To prevent seepage of water from the dumping ground to the Deepor Beel, an RCC boundary-cum-retaining wall would be constructed covering the core dumping site by using modern technology. The quantum of land which is at the periphery may be converted into a botanical park to reduce the seepage of toxic materials from the dumping site at West Boragaon.

The State government affidavit filed by Amarendra Barua, Secretary, Environment and Forest Department of the State, has stated that the State government had constituted an inter-departmental expert group for taking decision in regard to the relocation of the landfill site from West Boragaon as per a notification issued on December 4, 2018. The expert group held its last and third meeting on April 12, 2019 and adopted the above decisions.

Moreover, as per the decision of this expert group, a joint survey was conducted by the GMC, along with officials of Kamrup (Metro) district administration in Chandrapur Circle of the city to identify a suitable place for setting up the MSW treatment plant as well as a landfill site, prior to the above decisions. But the plot of land shown for the purpose was not readily usable and will need long-term preparation in terms of fund and time. Following findings of this survey, the above decisions were taken, the affidavit said.

The State government affidavit has stated that the identified MSW treatment plant-cum-landfill site in Chandrapur would need substantial time in order to build all the necessary infrastructure, more particularly road, to make it accessible.

It also stated that the expert group was suggested by the Chief Executive Officer, Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) that the abandoned quarries may be used as landfill sites. The Principal Secretary directed the GMC Commissioner (in-charge) and Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup (Metro) to take up the matter with the Environment and Forest Department and to submit report accordingly.

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