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'Landfills need to be treated in a scientific and phase wise manner'

By The Assam Tribune
Landfills need to be treated in a scientific and phase wise manner
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Guwahati, June 5: Last month the old Boragaon dumping ground caught fire and was burning for over a week releasing harmful toxins in the environment. Although the exact cause of the fire was not known, experts believed that the fire may have caught due to the methane gas produced from the legacy waste. Moreover, the leachate, a liquid produced by landfill sites, contaminates nearby water sources, further damaging ecosystems including the only Ramsar site of Assam- Deepor Beel.

Deepor Beel is known for its fish and bird diversity and rich aquatic vegetation that attracts wildlife faces conservation threats from garbage dumping and other anthropogenic causes. Amongst the causes the burning of the landfill has posed a serious threat to the ecosystem that demands immediate and scientific action to mitigate the menace. Although the government has planned to shift the dumping ground it is necessary to choose an area which is less sensitive and will not impact the ecosystem.

"The burning of the landfill was an unfortunate incident, the toxins produced from the trash contaminates the water and threatens the marine life. There are no second thoughts that the dumping ground needs to be shifted and the legacy waste should be treated in a scientific and phase wise manner. Landfills must meet stringent design, operation and requirements which will have least impact on the environment. It is a humongous task which cannot be solved within one or two years and needs a holistic approach to save the eco-sensitive area," says Udayan Borthakur, Senior Scientist and Wildlife Biologist, Aaranyak.

The importance of Deepor Beel as an eco-sensitive biodiversity cannot be denied, the environment has already been affected by various developments including air pollution due to surging industries, construction of railway lines that has also affected the wildlife and now the toxic fume emanating from the legacy waste. The destruction caused by landfills can be reduced by simply minimising our reliance on landfills. Recycling and composting reduce the amount of waste that has to be transported to landfills.

Borthakur says "Waste disposal and waste segregation has become an important issue now. Things has to start from home, when we throw something in our dustbins we are expecting that the GMC people will segregate the waste, rather we should take the initiative, it requires both awareness and efforts from the public as well as the authorities."

Solid waste management is a major problem for many urban local bodies, where urbanisation, industrialisation and economic growth have resulted in increased municipal solid waste generation. While asserting that the government should ensure dustbins are put in appropriate places, Borthakur says that the organisations, media and authorities should come together to mitigate this problem for a clean environment instead of pushing the blame to each other.

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Landfills need to be treated in a scientific and phase wise manner

Guwahati, June 5: Last month the old Boragaon dumping ground caught fire and was burning for over a week releasing harmful toxins in the environment. Although the exact cause of the fire was not known, experts believed that the fire may have caught due to the methane gas produced from the legacy waste. Moreover, the leachate, a liquid produced by landfill sites, contaminates nearby water sources, further damaging ecosystems including the only Ramsar site of Assam- Deepor Beel.

Deepor Beel is known for its fish and bird diversity and rich aquatic vegetation that attracts wildlife faces conservation threats from garbage dumping and other anthropogenic causes. Amongst the causes the burning of the landfill has posed a serious threat to the ecosystem that demands immediate and scientific action to mitigate the menace. Although the government has planned to shift the dumping ground it is necessary to choose an area which is less sensitive and will not impact the ecosystem.

"The burning of the landfill was an unfortunate incident, the toxins produced from the trash contaminates the water and threatens the marine life. There are no second thoughts that the dumping ground needs to be shifted and the legacy waste should be treated in a scientific and phase wise manner. Landfills must meet stringent design, operation and requirements which will have least impact on the environment. It is a humongous task which cannot be solved within one or two years and needs a holistic approach to save the eco-sensitive area," says Udayan Borthakur, Senior Scientist and Wildlife Biologist, Aaranyak.

The importance of Deepor Beel as an eco-sensitive biodiversity cannot be denied, the environment has already been affected by various developments including air pollution due to surging industries, construction of railway lines that has also affected the wildlife and now the toxic fume emanating from the legacy waste. The destruction caused by landfills can be reduced by simply minimising our reliance on landfills. Recycling and composting reduce the amount of waste that has to be transported to landfills.

Borthakur says "Waste disposal and waste segregation has become an important issue now. Things has to start from home, when we throw something in our dustbins we are expecting that the GMC people will segregate the waste, rather we should take the initiative, it requires both awareness and efforts from the public as well as the authorities."

Solid waste management is a major problem for many urban local bodies, where urbanisation, industrialisation and economic growth have resulted in increased municipal solid waste generation. While asserting that the government should ensure dustbins are put in appropriate places, Borthakur says that the organisations, media and authorities should come together to mitigate this problem for a clean environment instead of pushing the blame to each other.

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