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Engineered Landfill and Waste Processing Site Opens in Delhi

With the three existing landfill sites oversaturated, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is set to make its new Narela-Bawana landfill site operational, according to a report in The Times of India.

The Narela-Bawana site is sais to be the first 'scientific' landfill site in the Delhi, India, and will segregate and process close to 1300 metric tonnes of solid waste each day, producing refuse derived fuel (RDF) for industrial use, compost and recyclable material with only 25% being landfilled.

The new facility will be used to process garbage collected from Rohini and Civil Line zones, and is intended to reduce the burden on three other sites - Ghazipur, Okhla and Bhalswa - which are over 30 metres deep with refuse - against the permissible limit of 20 metres.

"It is an important project and will be completed in two phases. In the first phase, we are going to scientifically dispose of the solid waste and in the next phase, we will convert the garbage dumped at the site into energy. Only 25% of the total garbage collected will be dumped at the site. The rest will be processed," said Deep Mathur, director, press and information, MCD.

Phase one of the project has been built at a cost of Rs 700 million ($15.7 million), the site will have facilities for material recovery, treating leachate, trapping harmful gases and make RDF. The leachate will be collected and treated before being released in the storm water drains.

"The solid waste will be first segregated and all the recyclable material will be extracted. Bio-degradable materials will be sent to the composting plant. Others will be used to produce RDF. All the waste from these processes will be dumped at the site. The RDF produced from the site can be used by industries," a senior MCD official told The Times of India.

Currently none of the landfill sites has a mechanism to prevent toxic substances from seeping into the soil, thereby polluting the ground water.

The Narela-Bawana site will feature a thick liner to prevent leachate from leaching down, and will be lined with two layers of clay and a high-density polythene layer in between, according to officials. There is also a provision to collect the harmful gases and flare it before releasing in the atmosphere.

The site will be run on a PPP model and officials say it can take the load for next 25 years.

Over 7000 metric tonne solid waste is generated in the city daily. Recently the Delhi government had denied permission to the MCD to use a portion of the Bhatti mine area as a landfill site as it fell within a wildlife sanctuary. Delhi high court had asked the Union environment ministry to find out if there is any possibility of the area being used as a landfill site without it posing any environment threat to the sanctuary.

In the next phase, MCD will increase the capacity to 4000 tonnes per day and also set up a waste to energy plant at an expected cost of RS3.8 billion ($85 million).