500 villagers camp at waste depot entrance, stop trucks from entering

By Times Of India on 15 Oct 2017
Aurangabad: The residents of 12 villages situated around Naregaon waste depot began an indefinite protest against garbage dumping at the site on Friday. Trucks laden with trash were parked at the AMC ground near Central Naka after residents stopped the vehicles from entering the waste depot.

About 500 protesters, comprising men, women and children, are camping at the entrance of the landfill. The residents of the twelve villages — Mandki, Gopalpur, Mahal Pimpri, Naregaon, Pisadevi, Pokhri, Kachhe Ghati, Varud Kaji, Palsi, Rampur, Sultanpur and Hirapur — issued a warning on Friday that they would not allow further dumping of garbage at the site and would communicate with only the mayor, or the municipal commissioner or district collectorate authorities. Till late on Friday, AMC commissioner D M Mugalikar could not be reached for comment on the issue and there was no breakthrough in the logjam.

The Aurangabad Municipal Corporation had began dumping waste from the city at the 44-acre landfill in 1984. In 2004, the Bombay high court told the municipal corporation to stop dumping garbage at the site, which had been used to its full capacity by 2003. Fifteen years later, however, the civic body has still not been able to make any alternate arrangement or put in place a waste processing mechanism to reduce the garbage.

On Friday, TOI had reported how the dumping yard had taken a toll on the lives of the villagers. Representatives of the village had said the untreated garbage has led to the contamination of groundwater in the nearby areas and also caused air pollution. Villagers said the garbage burns throughout the day, but in the evening, the smoke emanating from the mountain of trash causes breathing problems among many people. Farmers also say their vegetable crops have been affected due to the land being contaminated by the filth and trash.

Meanwhile, Gauri Mirashi, solid waste management expert and Civic Response Team (CRT) founder, said that finding a new waste dumping site is not a solution. "A similar situation is being witnessed at landfill sites across the country. Decentralized dry waste processing and composting are the only answer to this problem," she said.