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Compost plant going waste

By Anjali Dhal Samanta

NEW DELHI, JUNE 21. The agency responsible for keeping the city clean is ironically the culprit this time round. Far from converting and utilising the city's waste, the compost plant of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi at Okhla in South Delhi that has been shut for close to a year now is surrounded by heaps of municipal solid waste dumped by the agency itself.

According to officials in the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) who conducted a survey recently, the compost plant - set up some time in the 1980s - has been closed for almost a year now. However, until as late as September last year, garbage trucks continued to make routine trips to the site and dump the waste. About 2,000 metric tonnes of garbage is lying within the compost plant complex, estimate CPCB officials. "When we visited the plant in September, we saw that the garbage trucks were still coming and dumping waste at the plant even though it had been closed for some time. We questioned why the waste was lying in such an unhygienic manner. Recently we went for yet another survey and discovered that the situation has not changed much. In fact, it has become like an unauthorised dumpsite where garbage has been thrown,'' said a CPCB official.

While the garbage trucks have stopped making trips to the plant, the garbage that had been dumped earlier is still lying in an unhygienic and, according to officials, in an "unauthorised'' manner. "The garbage is uncovered and is just lying around in the complex. They have not even moved it or made an attempt to store it in a better manner. It is near impossible to go there because there is a terrible smell in the area. It is very unhygienic and MCD has to take note of it or else it can be hazardous to health. They have to be very careful because the monsoons are coming and the threat of mosquitoes is more in that season,'' said an environmentalist who also visited the plant recently.

Admitting that the plant had been closed for some time now, Director (Sanitation), MCD, R. Dass said: "I know that the plant has been closed for at least the past six to seven months now. We closed it because it was an old plant and the technology was very old. It needs to be upgraded and the capacity of the plant should be increased. We are looking for a private partnership for the plant and the process is on right now. As for the waste, we know that there is some lying there. But that happened by mistake and we are in the process of clearing that up right now.''

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