MCG, dist officials burn midnight oil after minister orders speedy clean-up at Basai

GURUGRAM: Finally it took a state minister to get the district administration and civic authorities into the cleaning act to remove a huge mound of used plastic bottles lying on the fringes of wetland for the past few days, posing serious threat to the environment and the wildlife.

Haryana environment minister Vipul Goel intervened in the matter after this correspondent called him around 3.30pm following a visit to the spot, where plastic waste was lying unattended till this afternoon. Subsequently, the minister ordered immediate action. “After TOI took up the matter with me, I took stock of the situation. The deputy commissioner and additional deputy commissioner, along with staff, have reached the site and are clearing up the waste now. The plastic waste will be sent to Bandhwari plant, segregated and treated properly as per norms,” Goel told TOI over phone from Chandigarh around 6.30pm.

On Saturday, HSPCB and the district administration woke up from their slumber after TOI carried a report exposing illegal dumping of used plastic bottles at the Basai wetland, where a birder had spotted a black-necked stork with its beak stuck in a ring from a plastic bottle last Thursday. While HSPCB had slapped a notice on MCG for allowing dumping of plastic waste in the wetland in violation of norms, the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) had directed the land owner to clear the mound of waste from the spot within a day.

But till Monday afternoon, the plot owner did not remove the waste from the site. Later, acting on the order of the minister, a team rushed to the spot to clean up the plastic mess.

“We have sent a team, accompanied by cops, to the site. It will require 50-80 dumpers to clear that huge amount of waste. Also, it may take the entire night to finish the job. The team has started work,” said Sanjeev Singla, SDM, around 7.30pm.

If local residents are to be believed, a privately run plastic compressing and recycling unit came up recently at the site, located close to the construction and demolition waste treatment plant coming up in the area.

As per the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, the local body shall be responsible for development and setting up of infrastructure for storage, transportation, processing and disposal of plastic waste either on its own or by engaging agencies. Besides, it is illegal to dump or process any kind of plastic waste in Basai, which is notified as agricultural land.

While the MCG is the local body concerned in this case, HSPCB is the monitoring agency. But, both the agencies blamed each other for the environmental violation in the area. If HSPCB pulled up MCG for flouting the rules laid down by the Supreme Court, MCG officials claimed HSPCB had to take action in this regard.

The plastic waste proved dangerous for the ‘near threatened’ black-necked stork which was reportedly spotted at Delhi’s Najafgarh Jheel on Sunday evening. The bird, which is still roaming around with the plastic ring around its beak, may starve to death if not rescued within the next 24 to 48 hours.

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