Given space crunch, is landfill in sea the answer?

Written By Unknown on Senin, 02 Desember 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Should Mumbai consider an offshore landfill given the space crunch in the city and the strong opposition to dumping grounds from residents who live in their vicinity? Some experts believe in the idea, while others think it is a misstep.

Dr Ir Frans HM van de Ven of the Netherlands-based institute Deltares, which conducts applied research in the field of water, subsurface and infrastructure, said the state should tap into the unutilised sea. "The Not In My Backyard sentiment to landfills is very strong around the world. Mumbai should utilise its sea for creating recreation parks and surface water reservoirs. Since land is in short supply, it could even consider an island for a landfill." He was in the city recently for the mega-city conference organised by the NGO Mumbai First and the state government.

Singapore's only landfill site is located on the Semakau islands; it is filled mainly with ash produced from the country's incineration plants. A similar proposal was made by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in 2003, but the idea was shot down.

Mumbai Transformation Support Unit officials said the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011, is so stringent that it would not allow an offshore landfill.

Environmentalists in the city feel that instead of building dumping grounds in the sea, Mumbai's authorities should consider a zero garbage policy. "It is happening in cities across the world, be it New York or Paris. Landfills are no longer accepted as a solution to waste problems," said environmentalist Rishi Agarwal.

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