Local people around the proximity of Shimla’s solid waste treatment cum waste-to-energy plant alleged that they were living in the area where there is perpetual pollution and stench all the time.
After a recent revelation by a Tipper driver about the open disposal of the refuse derived from fuel and solid waste now the residents living along the villages lying downhill from the plant near Bharyal complain of contamination of natural water sources, degradation of grasslands, and prevalence of flies.
The garbage plant receives around 60 to 80 tonnes of municipal solid waste daily, which is converted into refuse derived fuel (RDF) at the plant and sold to cement factories. However, part of the garbage is dumped at a landfill site next to the plant.
Het Ram Sharma, a resident of Bharyal village said that a large amount of garbage is dumped in the vicinity of the plant which gradually flows down to grasslands of the villagers, rendering them useless. “It has polluted our water sources and made our lives miserable due to the presence of flies and stench.
After locals were forced to knock the doors of court, which had directed state to connect the village to a piped water scheme but it is lying defunct now,” he said.
Another resident said that land and water pollution has caused deaths of several livestock animals in the village.
Citizens of Village Matholi lamented similar troubles owing to the plant for the last several years. “Garbage is sometimes dumped illegally outside the plant at various spots next to the Taradevi-Tutu bypass road,” said Dheeraj, a resident of this village.
The waste-to-energy plant is run by Elephant Energy, a private firm, in association with the Shimla MC. A few days ago, a tipper driver employed in the firm complained to the police that he was being forced to dump garbage at unauthorised places near the plant.
Dinesh, his employer and a manager at the plant, denied the allegations, and said that the MC is responsible for collecting and bringing the garbage for treatment, while his firm only transports the RDF to cement factories.
MC official state
An MC official admitted that improper waste segregation is a major cause behind pollution in the area. “If it is properly segregated, dry waste can be converted into fuel while the biodegradable waste can be dumped in the landfill,” he said.