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Development authority dumps toxic Hussainsagar wastes in crowded area

Comments Off on Development authority dumps toxic Hussainsagar wastes in crowded area   |   November 25, 2013    09:06am   |Contributed by manoja

HYDERABAD: Ignoring serious environmental concerns by agencies, the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) is dumping tons of pollutants dredged from Hussainsagar in an abandoned stone quarry near thickly-populated Bachupally area.

The HMDA had zeroed in on the five-acre site for dumping the waste, but the AP Pollution Control Board flatly refused to give its nod without a scientific study to determine the repercussions of dumping waste on groundwater.

With no alternative government plan in place, the HMDA commissioned a city-based national research institute to conduct a feasibility study. The agency conducted tests in June-July this year and found it suitable for dumping non-toxic sediments in a preliminary study, but strongly recommended a comprehensive assessment after monsoon as ground water conditions change significantly post-monsoon in Hyderabad.

As part of the study, the agency wanted to carry out another round of tests on infiltration, ground water contamination and electrical resistivity tomography studies, among others after monsoon.

“It was only a preliminary report, and it needs to be followed up by another study after the monsoons owing to changes in the ground water,” said an official, privy to the report.

Recommendations were also made to drill five observation wells that would facilitate constant monitoring of the ground water, which were totally ignored by HMDA.

The wells would have captured seasonal changes in the sediment-ground water interaction, particularly during rains, officials said.

But HMDA, already under fire for its slackness on dredging waste from the iconic lake, submitted the preliminary assessment report, and got a nod from the PCB in September. For close to a month, thousands of cubic metres of waste are currently being dumped at the stone quarry.

The three main nalas feeding into Hussainsagar selected for dredging include Balkapur, Kukatpally and Picket. While the sediments from Picket and Balkapur nalas have been classified as non-toxic, the sediments from the Kukatpally nala were found to be highly toxic.

Environmentalists say that the dredging cannot prove beneficial unless flow of wastes into the nalas ceases.

“Polluting industries have not been reined in. As a result, sewage and effluents find their way into the nalas, notwithstanding the measures taken to divert and treat the water,” said OM Debara of HMDA’s Tree Protection Committee. The committee had turned down HMDA’s request to chop trees near People’s Plaza for using it as temporary dumping site.

When inquired about the whole controversy, HMDA member environment RP Khajuria said that the dumping was taken up after approval from the state pollution control board.

“The sediments from dredging were tested and were found to be similar to soil without any contaminating effects. The agency carried out the tests and it was a one-time study. We are therefore not conducting any further tests,” he said.


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