Policy mooted for construction debris disposal around Mumbai

Waste from new development projects in metropolitan region is being dumped in mangroves and rural areas

By Akshay Deshmane
Published: Friday 06 September 2013

The Maharashtra state government appears to have woken up to the environmental hazards of  dumping of construction and demolition (C&D) debris. It has proposed formulation of policy and rules for appropriate disposal of this kind of waste in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, which is among the regions generating highest such waste in the country.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the state’s nodal agency for all activities in the region, issued a statement on Thursday, explaining the initiative. The communiqué said the state administration, through MMRDA, has taken note of the “large quantum of construction and demolition waste generated owing to innumerable developmental works undertaken by government and private agencies in the city and adjoining areas, and the scarcity of dumping land.” For dealing with this problem, which has been caused because of “unauthorised dumping of C & D waste in mangroves”, a decision has been taken to formulate policy and rules for appropriate disposal of such waste. This will be done after conducting an independent technical study, for which a consultant will soon be appointed. Tender for this has been issued.

Ashwini Bhide, additional metropolitan commissioner of MMRDA, said the authority expects the appointed consultant to suggest “sound and scientific methods” for disposing of C&D waste within a period of six months from the date of appointment. In the authority’s official statement, Bhide also informed that the terms of reference for consultant include examining international case studies, especially of Asian Countries in C&D waste disposal, related environmental issues such as noise pollution, formulation of guidelines for systematic collection, transportation of waste, examining the best practices employed within the country and abroad and so on.

The trigger

Speaking to Down To Earth, Bhide explained that the issue of waste in Mumbai is about “urban waste being dumped in environmentally sensitive land in rural areas coming under Thane and Raigad collectorate”. It was after many complaints from all stakeholders that the state government appointed a technical committee six months ago under the chairpersonship of metropolitan commissioner of MMRDA, with commissioners of municipal corporations, divisional commissioners, collectors of the region as members. “There are all kinds of norms and rules and studies about electronic and solid waste, but no attention has been paid to C & D waste, yet. The committee will deliberate upon all aspects of the issue—recycling and reusing this waste; dumping it in appropriate ways and monitoring the adherence to norms, among other things. We expect some progress in about two to three months on this,” Bhide said.

Owing to its many redevelopment and new construction projects, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region witnesses frantic construction and other “development” activity causing phenomenal rise in generation and dumping of construction waste. Activists have long been demanding a policy to handle this waste.

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