Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday visited the Okhla landfill site and said the target is to clear the city of all three mountains of garbage by December 2024.
Kejriwal, during his visit to the site in south Delhi, was accompanied by his cabinet colleague Kailash Gahlot, Mayor Shelly Oberoi and Municipal Commissioner Gyanesh Bharti.
The monstrous Okhla landfill was commissioned in 1990s and it reached its saturation point several years ago.
The Okhla landfill site contains about 40 lakh MT of legacy waste in it.
In the last few years, about 20-25 lakh MT have been removed from it, but about 40 lakh MT still remains in it, Kejriwal told reporters at the site.
“The scheduled set target to remove this mountain of garbage is by May 2024. But, all officers and engineers are working on it, and our target is to try to remove it by December 2023, instead of May next year,” he said.
There is a lot of capacity for biomining here (about 17,000 MT), but the capacity to remove waste from the landfill and dispose it is less, the chief minister said.
Its current daily disposal capacity is 4,000-4,500 MT. But, by April 1, “we will augment it to 10,000 MT daily”, he added.
Kejriwal said he will visit the Okhla landfill site again to carry out an inspection on April 1.
“And, by June, we expect to augment it further to 15,000 MT daily disposal capacity. If we go by 15,000 MT capacity, then by December-January, we will reach out target of cleaning this (Okhla) site by December-January, and local residents will also get relief,” he said.
Similarly, work is underway at Ghazipur and Bhalswa landfill sites, and when we will visit there in the next couple of days, we will take stock of the situation there too, he said.
Asked when will Delhi become free of these landfill sites, he said, “One will be cleared by May, and another one six months later.”
So, December next year, that is our target, he added.
Speaking to PTI, Environment Minister Kailash Gahlot noted that the AAP government is hopeful that Delhi will be free from all the landfill sites by December 2024.
On the Okhla landfill site, he said, “We are hopeful of achieving the daily disposal rate of 10,000 MT by April, and 15,000 MT by June.”
The minister also spoke on the upcoming Delhi budget.
“The budget will be on time. We are having a series of meetings, and very soon we will finalise the budget. Delhi will get it on time,” he said.
Talking about the alternatives once the landfill sites are cleared, Kejriwal said waste-to-energy plants and biomethanation plants will help in the disposal of waste.
However, he did not elaborate on it, more so when Delhi generates a massive amount of waste daily.
The city cumulatively generates around 11,400 metric tonnes of garbage, out of which nearly 6,200 metric tonnes is dumped at three landfills, that is, Ghazipur, Okhla and Bhalaswa, civic officials had said in 2021.
Kejriwal said a plan is to make a big C&D (construction and delomolition) waste plant to make bricks, and a biomethanation plant, after the Okhla landfill site is cleared.
Asked about the stalling of the election of the standing committee of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, which is affecting civic work, he said, “Work will go on, do not worry.”
(With PTI inputs)