BIAL opposes reopening of Mavallipura landfill

BIAL opposes reopening of Mavallipura landfill

Fearing that birds would hit aircraft, with disastrous consequences, if the Mavallipura landfill near Yelahanka was reopened, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) has written a strong letter to the state government not to consider any such move.

The BBMP reportedly approached Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) recently to make this landfill operational again before December 1, when the Mandur site is set for closure.

In July 2012, the KSPCB had ordered closure of this landfill in the wake of vociferous protests by local residents angered by groundwater contamination.

Reopening it would magnify the spectre of dangerous bird-hits at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). The proposed move, as BIAL Airport Operations president Hari Marar put it, would be of even more concern for the Yelahanka Air Force Station.

Mavallipura is just 18 km from KIA. The IAF base is even closer. But KIA has no immediate concerns regarding bird hits, thanks to its inbuilt waste-handling mechanism. An estimated 9-10 tonnes of solid waste generated within KIA is segregated in house and transferred to the Terra Firma waste-processing facility. This is part of a comprehensive green initiative undertaken by the BIAL.

Under this initiative, KIA is headed for self-sufficiency in water with a unique Water Master Plan. To prove this point, BIAL showcases three abandoned open wells that have now been recharged, an indication that the groundwater table has been pushed up substantially.

Landscaped gardens, 315 rain-water recharge pits, a 2-MLD-capacity sewage treatment plant (STP) and a drainage master plan are part of this greening drive. Seven open wells, found abandoned by Devanahalli villagers during land acquisition, were identified for rejuvenation.

Three of these were recharged to increase the capacity of each from about 100 kl to 320 kl, explained BIAL officials during the course of an eco-walk through the airport on Tuesday.

On the threshold of its second major expansion drive, KIA has opted to keep all its future projects focused on environmental sustainability, said Marar.

This would also mean increasing energy efficiency and reducing reliance on the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board for the airport’s water needs. “Two-thirds of KIA’s water requirement of 1.8-2 MLD is currently met by internal resources. This will be increased,” Marar said.

Tuesday’s eco-walk also underlined the criticality of the STP in boosting KIA’s green drive. The water let out from this primary treatment plant, which operates on the activated sludge process, is largely used to irrigate landscaped gardens. Plants for the gardens are nurtured in a 4-acre nursery, complete with a temperature-controlled greenhouse.

Opened two months ago, an ambient air-quality monitor keeps track of the pollutants in the atmosphere within the airport premises. Reports are regularly sent to the KSPCB.

To ensure eco-balance, the BIAL has planted 135 species of trees.  Marar said KIA’s second runway could materialise by 2018.  “The need for the runway is linked to traffic volumes. Going by current traffic trends, the volume should reach 2 crore passengers annually by 2018. The runway will be operational by then,” said the official.

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