Draft guidelines for maintaining buffer around waste processing and disposal facilities

Indian cities are expanding with the increase in population and economic activities. Identification of landfill site in such cities has become a challenging issue for the municipalities. Non-existence of proper land use plan of Urban Authorities has aggravated the situation further leading to failure in solid waste management. Most of the existing landfill sites have no adequate Buffer Zone; whereas available buffer zone areas are also under illegal encroachment and such landfills are always likely to face public resistance. The Buffer zone is defined as an area of restricted activities, depending on the activity and adjacent land uses i.e. the conduct of waste operation would be prohibited. It also ensures long-term availability of disposal sites by avoiding potential conflicts between disposal sites and adjacent land use. Laying down physical dimensions of Buffer Zone is a critical issue, especially for the existing facilities. Though the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000 specified the terminology of Buffer Zone, the rule was silent about the dimension of Buffer Zone.