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Preparations in full swing to clear legacy landfills by 2026

  • Published
    17th Oct, 2022
Context
  • A public dashboard showing the status of dumpsites, and remediation plans under Swachh Bharat is likely to be soon.

Background:

  • Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) 2.0 was launched in 2021 with the aim to make cities free of garbage and ensure safe water by the end of the five years.
  • The remediation of all legacy landfills in the country was one of its targets.
  • Online portal would contain the exact number, size, and remediation plans of the sites, which are estimated to be around 2,200.
  • These “sizeable” landfills each contain at least 1,000 tonnes of waste.

Understanding legacy waste:

  • Legacy wastes or aged wastes are the wastes that are collected and kept for years at some barren land or a place dedicated to a Landfill (an area to dump solid waste). Legacy waste can be grouped into four categories:
    • Contained and stored wastes (wastes stored in tanks, canisters, stainless-steel bins, etc will come under this category)
    • Buried waste
    • Contaminated soil and groundwater
    • Contaminated building materials and structures waste.

Composition of Legacy Waste: Legacy waste composition majorly depends upon the age of the landfill. The legacy waste composition is primarily based on four significant fractions. Such as,

  • Fine soil / sand-like material: These are the decomposed and mineralized organic wastes mixed with silt, sand, and fine fragments of construction and demolition (C&D) wastes. This is the major fraction in the majority of landfills.
  • Scrap polymeric and combustible materials: These include plastics, paper, cardboard, textiles, etc.
  • Stones (greater than 20 millimeters in size)
  • Miscellaneous items: These include broken glass, sanitary waste, diapers, and metallic fractions such as razors, needles, etc.

Challenges in Managing legacy waste:

  • Presence of heavy metals
  • Not enough data available on legacy waste
  • Do not have enough capacity to process these landfills
  • Unable to follow the CPCB guidelines

Potential applications of legacy waste:

  1. The polymeric wastes obtained from dumpsites can be utilized in manufacturing refuse-derived fuel (RDF).
  2. Electricity produced from RDF can be utilized by energy-intensive industries and households.
  3. Construction and demolition (C&D) waste are to be recycled into building materials and bio-soil that is used to fill in low-lying areas after passing a check for heavy metals.

Significance:

  • Possible to track the progress of cities’ action plans for the remediation of legacy landfills.
  • The plans cover everything from the remediation of the landfill to the eventual reuse of the land.
  • It is expected that clearing of the landfills, would free up 15,000 acres of land.

About Swachh Bharat Mission- Urban (SBM-U) 2.0:

  • It announced in Budget 2021-22, is the continuation of SBM-U's first phase.
  • It was launched on 1st October 2021 to achieve the vision of ‘Garbage Free Cities’ over the next five years.
    • The government is also trying to tap safe containment, transportation, disposal of fecal sludge, and septage from toilets.
  • SBM 2.0 Mission mandate for every Indian city is to stop as much as 80 per cent of its waste from reaching a dumpsite by the end of 2026.
  • It will be implemented over five years from 2021 to 2026 with an outlay of Rs.1.41 lakh crore.
    • SBM-U's first phase was launched on 2nd October 2014 aiming at making urban India Open Defecation Free (ODF) and achieving 100% scientific management of municipal solid waste. It lasted till October 2019.

 

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