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CPCB issues guidelines on landfills

LiveMint logoLiveMint 09-06-2017 Mayank Aggarwal

New Delhi: To minimize the impact of landfills and waste management facilities on environment and the public health, India’s anti-pollution watchdog has now come out with guidelines to maintain buffer zones including a green belt around such sites.

The guidelines will not only facilitate the urban local bodies in reducing the nuisance value of the waste management facilities but also enhance their aesthetic appeal.

The guidelines published by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) last week suggested that “ideally, a distance of 500 meters from the boundary of the solid waste processing and disposal facility (sanitary landfill) should be maintained.”

“However, on case to case basis, a distance of minimum 200 meters from the solid waste processing and disposal facility (sanitary landfill) can be considered subject to the condition that such facility meets the stipulated standards prescribed by state pollution control board with respect to ambient air as well as for stack emissions,” it added.

Clarifying the reason for relaxation, the guidelines said that it has been done keeping in view high population density in urban areas, scarcity of land to set up such facilities and protest from local inhabitants in the area of processing/ disposal facility and is in line with those being adopted at international level.

As per the guidelines, their main purpose is to specify adequate separation distances between solid waste management facilities and their surrounding areas, having different land usage.

For that, the guidelines aim to minimize the risk of adverse impact on the environment (land, air, water, noise pollution) and the impact on the public health, inform and support strategic land use planning decisions, prevent encroachment of controlled areas, develop public acceptance for solid waste treatment and disposal infrastructure and encourage new technological innovations for processing facilities with minimal land requirement.

The CPCB further stated that it will also need to ensure that the buffer area provides adequate space for vehicle entry and the area is sufficient to ensure that potential effects of the processing/ landfilling operation do not have any unacceptable impact outside the site.

The guidelines also recommended a minimum 10 metres green belt within and all around the facility along the boundary to serve as visual barriers and to reduce noise levels. For selecting plant species for the green belt, it specified that they should be fast growing, have a thick canopy, perennial and evergreen, should have high carbon dioxide sink potential and that they should be effective in absorbing pollutants without significantly affecting their growth.

It recommended species like Babul, Shishum, Australian Babul, Neem, Jamun and Karanji.

Solid waste management is a major problem across India as untreated waste disposed in the open has led to water pollution and clogged sewer systems. As per official estimates, at present around 62 million tonnes of solid waste is generated every year. But only 43 million tonnes is collected and only 12 million tonnes is treated.

The guidelines are in line with the Solid Waste Management (SWM) Rules 2016 that were notified by the union environment ministry last year.

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