The way out could be to find alternative sites to dump the city's daily garbage of 9,000 tonnes as well as to process the waste efficiently so that 80 per cent of it can be converted into energy or compost or any other useful byproduct.
Municipal Corporations in Delhi continue to dump at these three saturated sites ignoring a Delhi Pollution Control Committee ban imposed five years ago.
The committee's report says a minimum of 650 acres of land, which is practically impossible given the acute scarcity of land in the Capital, is required to manage waste efficiently for the next 10 years.
After extensive deliberation, 22 alternative sites have been identified by the committee headed by Delhi chief secretary and comprising senior officers of municipal corporations, besides DDA, Urban Development and Environment ministry, land and building department as its members. Noted environmentalist Manoj Misra agrees: "A city like Delhi must plan aggressively towards a 'zero' garbage / waste status whereby all solid waste is properly segregated and then either composted or recycled and reused.
"Land being scarce in Delhi, volume of such huge quantity of waste needs to be reduced and thus it is most essential to implement a policy for minimising waste going to the landfills," said the panel formed by Justice G. Otherwise, the city would be soon known more for its garbage hills than its architectural attractions or its natural Ridge." These sites include Madanpur Khadar and Kalindi Kunj, Bakhtawarpur and Hamidpur and Palla.
The proposed sites under South Corporation in Neelwal, Kudna, Nilothi Bakkarwala and Samadpur Ranhola villages, and Mundka village under North Corporation are being flagged by farmers as they are close to their agricultural land.
The trifurcated Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has been pushing for the Centre's nod for a proposal to increase by 100 times the current fine for littering, which they argue is not a strong enough deterrent."No one is scared to do such things because the penalty is just Rs 50.What we need to do is increase the fine drastically to instill fear in offenders," South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) Leader of the House Subhash Arya said.It was a similar sentiment that led the National Green Tribunal (NGT) earlier this week to demand the civic agencies' reply on invoking the polluter pays principle - which directs that the person responsible for damage to the environment bear the costs associated with it – to rein in the Capital's worsening garbage problem."It is a pity that Delhi is drowning in its own waste.The dirty streets and clogged drains have not only made the Capital uninhabitable for its residents but also rendered the entire drainage system dysfunctional," Anumita Roychowdhury, the executive director of Centre for Science and Environment said.