CPCB orders NEERI to measure pollution impacts on surroundings by Bandhwari landfill

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GURUGRAM: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on May 20, 2019, instructed the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to prepare an assessment survey report to measure the impact of pollution on the surrounding ecology due to the landfill sites. Following the order, NEERI appointed an Environmental Impact & Risk Assessment division’s scientists team to inspect the situation and visited the Bandwari landfill site on June 10. The team collected various samples of soil, air and water from the surrounding villages of Bandhwari, Gwal Pahari, Baliawas, Kot, and Mandi.

Kuldeep Singh, regional officer (Gurugram), Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) said, “The study has been commissioned by the CPCB at the behest of a Gurugram-based activist who requested that groundwater in villages downstream from the Bandhwari landfill site be tested to check for contamination.” According to him, villagers have been complained about the pollution issue of landfill sites. They mentioned that pollution from the landfill site has now made its way to them through the groundwater. This might be the risk for their health.

NEERI ordered the team to submit the report of pollution level on various impacts within two months of the inspection completed. Talking to media, one of the assigned NEERI scientist said, “We will be carrying out a detailed study of surface water, groundwater, air quality and soil quality in the region. Water samples have been collected from five tube wells in each of the adjoining villages.”

According to the previous reports in year 2017 CPCB have already declared Bandhwari’s groundwater unsafe for consumption. No actions were taken by Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) to improve their solid waste management strategy resulting in residents complaining related to health problems.

Vaishali Rana Chandra, the activist who wrote to the CPCB on May 9, said,

“Run-off from the hilly Aravalli region, where Bandhwari lies, feeds an aquifer that continues through the villages of Gwal Pahari and Baliwas and onward to Ghata, Sector 45 and Civil Lines. Mandi and Kot in Faridabad are also connected with this aquifer.”

In April 2019, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) pulled up the corporation over poor management of Bandhwari landfill. The court said that this is a classic instance of “incapacity, incompetence and unwillingness” of the MCG to perform its duty to handle solid waste in a scientific manner. There is a need to take action on emergency “at the highest level of the state” to remedy the situation, and instructed the chief secretary to the government of Haryana to intervene and take “prompt steps” in the matter.

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