NEW DELHI: The East Delhi Municipal Corporation has put in operation eight new advanced trommel machines for bio-mining of legacy waste at Ghazipur landfill, where two fire incidents have been reported in two weeks, but it’s of little help as there’s not enough space for the machines to move. As a result, the pace of the work remains slow, officials said.
The machines are not being utilised to optimal capacity and the decomposing legacy waste continues to produce methane under high temperatures, thereby causing fire, said officials. A massive fire broke out at the landfill last month while another was reported on Saturday night.
The AAP government in Delhi and the BJP-ruled municipal corporations have been constantly sparring over the frequent fires at one of the city’s oldest landfills while the problem on the ground remains the same — lack of land to dispose of fresh garbage and inert (a soil type of material produced during the process of bio-mining).
“The real problem is that even the legacy waste that is being processed and a large portion of the inert being produced keeps lying at the landfill itself. This is in addition to the fresh garbage dumped on a daily basis. We have been asking for land parcels to dump this waste, but there’s just no land in East Delhi,” said a senior official.
Officials said they were now pinning hopes on the reunification of the three corporations after the Bill passed in Parliament in this regard is notified. “Once there’s just one civic body, we may find a piece of land as we will be able to look for it across Delhi. The waste-to-energy plant, which was shut because of new equipment being set up, is also about to resume function, which will help cut down some of the solid waste coming directly to the landfill,” the official said.
The official added that methane formation primarily takes place in those pockets at the landfill where the piled-up waste is too old and its leachate goes down in the ground as fresh waste is continuously dumped on it. “These are the pockets that catch fire every summer,” the official said.
At present, there are 25 trommel machines installed at the site while 10 new ones will be installed by April-end. According to figures shared by East MCD, 9.4 lakh metric tonnes of legacy waste have been processed since 2019 after the NGT asked all the three corporations to start bio-mining process at the three landfills — Ghazipur, Bhalaswa and Okhla — to cap their height.