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Delhi faces trash crisis as landfills overflow

An Indian woman works on a landfill site in New Delhi. India’s capital faces a waste management meltdown unless it boosts recycling and composting of refuse. (MONEY SHARMA/EPA)

Delhi is on the verge of a full-blown garbage crisis. Darpan Singh reports for the Hindustan Times that three of four landfills are unmanageable mountains of trash overdue to be closed. Toxic sludge seeps from dumps into soil and drainage and releases methane gas into the air. Roughly 85 percent of India’s capital lacks curbside pickup.

Making matters worse, no new sites are available to handle Delhi’s 10,000 tons of trash per day, the article says. The city would need to double the number of garbage trucks from 2,300 to 4,700 by 2024 to handle the load.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) urges the municipality to require that trash, recyclables and compost material to be separated by residents. At present, rag pickers sift through garbage to retrieve recycling material. If done properly, segregation could reduce refuse sent to landfills by 80 percent, the newspaper says.

“Segregation by residents will only work,” Singh cautions, if there is a “complete door-to-door waste collection system and trash pickups have separate containers for dry and wet waste.”

Hindustan Times

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