Noida Dialogue

An initiative of Democratic Outreach for Social Transformation, DOST

Wasteland to wetland: How landfill site was transformed

July 13, 2019

NOIDA: In January this year, this place looked like it could turn into another Ghazipur, the garbage hill on the Delhi-Ghaziabad border that’s grown so large it is nearing Qutab Minar’s height. Who would have thought that just six months on, the stinking, rotting mass of garbage would disappear from the Sector 54 landfill in Noida and in its place would appear a wetland?

The wetland, actually a large reservoir for rainwater, is the final step in a pleasing restoration exercise to turn a wasteland into a basin to help recharge the city’s fast plunging water table, a task Noida has doggedly stuck to this year and which will start showing results once the city receives a few spells of monsoon rain.

The Sector 54 site does not have water yet but has been cut into the shape of a pond and, according to officials, will be ready to harvest rainwater in another two days. The Noida Authority is in the process of developing some grassland around the pond and planting trees to give it the character of a wetland. The total area is large, spanning around 12.5 acres, which was cleaned only in June as the garbage was shifted to Mubarakpur on the National Green Tribunal’s directions. The site once had more than 1 lakh tonnes of waste piled up there.

This marks the fifth instalment of Noida’s ambitious wetland restoration exercise before monsoon showers — a 12-acre wetland in Sector 91, a 1.5-acre wetland in Sector 85, a pond in Gejha and a 6-acre wetland at Biodiversity Park are the others that are now primed to harvest rainwater.

“The 12.5-acre area in Sector 54 had tonnes of garbage till last month. This was cleaned up and channels created for harvesting and storage of rainwater. Apart from this, native grasses, water plants and trees are being introduced. The vacant land is being converted into a water conservation point. It will be ready for recharge from July 14,” said Noida Authority general manager Rajeev Tyagi. Noida Authority CEO Alok Tandon said the Authority is on a mission to recharge Noida’s falling water table.

The Authority recently held a meeting where it was decided that all 985 ponds in the city would be cleaned and replenished with fresh water. This, the Authority plans to do by September 15.

A landfill area, once cleaned, cannot be left like that, officials pointed out, because people would just start throwing waste there again. During the Swachh Bharat drive, Ghaziabad found a way of keeping the roadside garbage vats it cleaned up by turning them into gardens and green belts and fencing them off.

Noida decided the best way to maintain the Sector 54 site was to turn it into a rainwater reservoir and develop a park around it where people could spend some time.

“The Noida Authority is working towards making Noida an eco-friendly city in terms of water harvesting and also building awareness among citizens on the importance of water conservation and groundwater recharge. Artificial wetlands, ponds, rainwater harvesting pits and dust-free zones are some of the measures towards achieving this goal,” said Tandon.

Now that the Sector 54 landfill has been cleaned, most of the refuse derived fuel produced after remediation has been sent to cement factories to be used as raw material.

The leftover inert waste was used to cover the area where waste was dumped earlier.


Source : The Times of India