Skip to main content

As Green Tribunal orders closure of Surat's polluting solid waste site, activists seek removal of Ahmedabad site

Solid waste site in Surat
By Our Representative
In a ruling of far-reaching implications, not just for Surat but also for Ahmedabad, the National Green Tribunal (NTG) has asked the Surat authorities in South Gujarat to take a decision and “issue work order for commencing the work of closure of Khajod open dumping site within one month”, even as start working on the action plan for scientific disposal of solid waste.
Located in the coastal zone of Surat, Gujarat’s second biggest city, which has turned into a major business hub in western India, Khajod has turned into a major cause of pollution, affecting around five lakh people, says MSH Sheikh, a well-known environment expert, who has been campaigning against the site’s existence for the last several years.
Dumping municipal solid waste (MSW) on its 117 hectares (ha) site, the pollution caused by fire on it “spreads heavy air pollution in 10 km radius, causing health issues in Khajod, Budiya, Gabeni, Dipli, Jiyav and Bhimrad villages, all of whom are situated in the five kilometers of the site, Sheikh says, adding, “Vector borne diseases, over and above air pollution and foul odour, have been reported due to the mismanagement of the site.”
Massive air pollution caused by Surat site
According to available estimates, Surat city generates a total of 1,600 metric tonnes of solid waste per day, all of which is dumped at Khajod. A private company, which was given the contract to “handle” the solid waste, says the expert, never cared to do it in a scientific manner. The result is, as of today, more than 40 lakh metric tonnes of solid waste has gathered at the site.
Parivartan Trust, the NGO which went to the NGT against the polluting site, says, “Despite our repeated requests, neither Gujarat’s urban development department, nor the municipal corporation authorities did anything to ensure that this private company handles sold waste in a scientific way. This is one reason why we decided to approach the NGT.”
The NGT ruling comes amidst increasing concern not just in Surat but also in Ahmedabad, whose outskirts have a major dumping site with similar characteristics. Situated near Pirana village, it adversely affects lakhs of people living around the spot. Worse, set up in 1980, a 1989 Gujarat government notification had said, the dumping site should be disbanded and shifted “within 20-25 years”, which meant it should have been removed by 2005.
Ahmedabad site situated next to a huge locality
“Yet nothing has been done for this, Insaf Foundation, a local NGO campaigning against the Ahmedabad MSW site, says. The NGO quotes an Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, study to say that there are as many as 35 poisonous gases emanating from the Pirana solid waste site. Another study by the St Xavier’s College, is quoted as saying that the pollution level around the site is twice as much as the rest of the city.
“As a result of this, the death rate among the residents of the area is much higher. Women complain of premature abortion. The water pollution because of the site has also led to higher incidence of kidney failure, acute asthma cases, heart failure, and so on”, Insaf’s Kalim Siddique, who has prepared a profile of individuals suffering from the diseases, says.

Comments

TRENDING

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

World Bank needs a new perspective on development, not just a new president

By Maju Varghese*
The resignation of the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim was an unexpected development given the fact that he had three more years to complete his tenure. Resignations at such a high level after bidding for a second term is unusual which prompts people to think what would have led to the act itself.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”