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Noida Supertech twin towers to be demolished on August 28 — The environmental impact and solutions

Amid concerns over the environmental impact of Noida Supertech twin towers demolition, authorities have assured about the safety and risk mitigation measures. But will the use of explosives during the demolition lead to serious health issues? Read on to know what experts say.

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By Akriti Anand  Aug 24, 2022 2:36:00 PM IST (Updated)

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Noida Supertech twin towers to be demolished on August 28 — The environmental impact and solutions
After much delay, the Supertech twin tower is now slated for demolition on August 28. The Supreme Court fixed the D-day during a hearing on Friday. The court has also relaxed the time frame till September 4 in case of delays arising from technical or weather conditions.

More than 3,500 kg of explosives has been used to bring down the 40-storey towers located in Noida Sector 93A. They are nearly 100-metre tall illegal structures.
While the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) gave its nod to razing Supertech's twin towers with explosives, there's chatter around the environmental impact of the demolition.
What impact will the use of explosives have on the environment during the demolition? What will happen to the tonnes of debris and concrete dust left behind? How will the government and other authorities manage the transportation of this debris? Here are all your questions answered:
The environmental impact of demolition
Experts said that the demolition will cause dust clouds, smoke and noise pollution, leaving behind tonnes of debris. Dust from various construction and demolition activities releases particles "that can cause both serious health problems ranging from eye irritation, nose, mouth and respiratory system".
Abhiir Bhalla, who featured in BBC's Top Youth Environmentalists, said, "Any demolition, especially a demolitions at this scale, will inevitably lead to the dust cloud." He also said this will lead to air pollution and shutting doors and windows won't clean the air. "The effects of air pollution might last for days and affect people's health," he said.
In contrast, R Nagendran, a professor of Environmental Science and Engineering and Enviro-legal consultant, said "implosion" is the safest, fastest, environment-friendly and most economically affordable method based on "better and deeper science". But two things are crucial here — supervision and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), he said.
"More time and effort would go in to see that everything that is dangerous is removed from there (the site of demolition)...and then there's SOP. They (authorities) would follow only that SOP and the environmental impact as such would be very very minimum," he said.
When asked about the possibility of reusing the debris collected after the demolition, Bhalla said he was "not sure if it's a viable option in this case". However, Nagendran said, "There are scientific methods of removing the debris" and reusing it. "The debris will be subjected to physio-chemical analysis. If results are positive, they can use it for road-laying" in another projects, he said.
Amid the debate, developer Supertech and demolition firm have assured the CBRI of putting all safety and risk mitigation measures in place in the Emerald Court and ATS Village societies, adjoining the twin towers, news agency PTI quoted officials as saying.
What is the SOP for waste management then?
There are certain rules set under the Construction and Demolition (C & D) Waste Management Rules, 2016 that promote construct and demolition waste utilisation.
To mitigate environmental degradation due to dust, the government said a sheet cover must be placed over the debris and designated transport vehicles at waste processing sites. It also suggests the use of water sprinklers (treated wastewater) and dust suppression systems are in place at all unloading/delivery points.
It said authorities must devise appropriate measures in consultation with expert institutions for "management of construction and demolition waste generated including processing facility and for using the recycled products in the best possible manner".
As per the guidelines, authorities must also make provision for giving incentives for using of material in the construction activity including non-structural concrete, paving blocks, lower layers of road pavements, and colony and rural roads. Many times, the waste is also dumped in sanitary landfills.
"Solid waste generation/management in construction and demolition waste operations - residues to be sent to nearest landfill in consultation with concerned authorities," the guidelines say. The government has also imposed fines for dumping malba in front of houses, parks or at any other public space or mixing it with wet waste.
The government also prohibits littering or deposition of construction and demolition waste to avoid obstruction to the traffic or drains.
There are also provisions to mitigate noise pollution. As per the guidelines, no construction or demolition activity is allowed to be undertaken at night. (Daytime: 6 am to 10 pm).
Another method suggested by the government is growing trees at the periphery. "One of the major post-demolition activities which can be undertaken is planting trees in the area. Ensuring the water and sanitation infrastructure is maintained is of utmost importance," said Palakh Khanna, UN SGD regional officer (Asia Pacific).
Why are Supertech towers being demolished?
The Supreme Court had ordered the demolition of the building last year as their construction violated the minimum distance requirement. They were built illegally without taking the consent of the individual flat owners as required under the UP Apartment Act, News 18 quoted the court as saying.
The court had also directed that the entire amount of home buyers be refunded with 12 percent interest from the time of the booking. It had further said the RWA of Emerald Court project must be paid Rs 2 crore for the harassment caused due to the construction of the twin towers, which would have blocked sunlight and fresh air to the existing residents of the housing project adjoining the national capital.
(With inputs from News 18 and PTI)

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