From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Landfills
Mains level : Hazards of landfill
The remediation of all legacy landfills in India are in full swing and a public dashboard on the progress at 2,200 such sites is in the offing.
What are Landfills?
- A landfill site, also known as a tip, dump, rubbish dump, garbage dump, or dumping ground, is a site for the disposal of waste materials.
- Some landfill sites are also used for waste management purposes, such as temporary storage, consolidation and transfer, or for various stages of processing waste material, such as sorting, treatment, or recycling.
Threats posed by landfills
Landfills have the potential to cause a number of issues. Infrastructure disruption, such as damage to access roads by heavy vehicles, may occur amongst others.
- When precipitation falls on open landfills, water percolates through the garbage and becomes contaminated with suspended and dissolved material, forming leachate.
- If this is not contained it can contaminate groundwater.
2) Decomposition gases
- Rotting food and other decaying organic waste create decomposition gases, especially CO2 and CH4 from aerobic and anaerobic decomposition, respectively.
- Both processes occur simultaneously in different parts of a landfill.
3) Other threats
- Poorly run landfills may become nuisances because of vectors such as rats and flies which can spread infectious diseases.
- The occurrence of such vectors can be mitigated through the use of daily cover.
- Other potential issues include wildlife disruption due to occupation of habitat and animal health disruption caused by consuming waste from landfills, dust, odour, noise pollution, and reduced local property values.
Why clear landfills?
- Once removed, the sites would free up 15,000 acres of land.
- For instance, the largest such landfill, in Mumbai, is spread over 300 acres and contains 2.60 crore tonnes of waste.
- Delhi’s three landfills — Ghazipur, Bhalswa and Okhla — contain around 2.8 crore tonnes of waste.
What is landfill remediation?
The most common methods for the remediation of landfills include:
- Excavation to recover recyclable materials
- Capping to reduce leachate generation
- Air sparging and soil vapor extraction to capture and remediate gases and
- Pump-and-treat of the leachate-contaminated plume
Significance of the portal
- Through the portal, citizens would be able to track the progress of their cities’ action plans for remediation of legacy landfills.
- The plans cover everything from remediation to the eventual reuse of the land.