For the last six months, the solid waste treatment plant in Vasai has been non-operational, resulting in tonnes of garbage being dumped and burnt rampantly beside Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP). What is more shocking is that a natural lake has been completely destroyed, with garbage accumulating in it.
The garbage treatment plant, located at Bhoidapada village in Vasai (East), has been given on contractual basis to Hanjer Biotech Energies Pvt Ltd and has been shut since six months after a fire destroyed all the equipment.
Residents say around 500 tonnes of garbage is being dumped there daily from the Vasai-Virar region. The lake, which was close to the dumping ground, has been completely destroyed, while smoke continues to engulf homes of villagers, risking their lives.
"We had complained to several authorities about the garbage menace, which continues to haunt lives of more than 20,000 residents. The garbage accumulated is now lakhs of tonnes; plastic is also being burnt, adding to pollution," said Waman Nathu Shelke, a resident and social activist.
"The boundary of SGNP touches the dumping ground and the water of the lake, which was used for consumption by residents, is now polluted," said Shelke.
"Newborns are facing lots of complications, while many miscarriages have also been reported from some villages. In a week, three people have died due to various illnesses and no authority is willing to take action. We want this dumping ground to shut at the earliest," said Rohini Sharma, another resident.
Govind Rathod, temporary civic chief, confirmed that garbage is being dumped at the spot. "We have given a show-cause notice to Hanjer Biotech Energies and are finding alternative techniques for waste solid management. We plan to call in tenders."