With hundreds of tonnes of garbage burning at Bhanpur landfill site in the state capital, the Madhya Pradesh government seems to be making mockery of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
The smoke from the fire not only lowers the visibility in the area, it also releases large quantities of pollutants, including particulate matter into the air. The particulate matter is getting deposited on the vehicles and residential areas in the vicinity of the landfill site, affecting normal life in the area.
The garbage is being burnt despite clear warning from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to the state authorities stating that under no circumstances the garbage should be burnt, as it pollutes the atmosphere and harms the residents living nearby and spreads foul smell in the whole area.
When HT team visited the Bhanpur site, the visibility was poor because of smoke coming from the smouldering hillocks of garbage at the landfill site, which is spread to over 47 acres.
At many places the flame was high and it was difficult to move around. Scores of children, who were picking plastic had bloodshot eyes and were coughing. "This is a regular feature here, but sometimes it becomes unmanageable," said a rag picker.
The residents in the nearby localities are annoyed with the large-scale fire and smoke, which they claim has made their lives miserable. "The stench of rotten waste continuously remains in the air. And when it starts burning, it is very difficult for us to carry on our day to day activities," said Radhey Sham Bhagat, a local.
The existence of such a big landfill site so close to the heart of Bhopal city has already been questioned. In October last year, NGT questioned MP government to explain the legal status of the Bhanpur site.
Environmentalist Subash Pandey, who filed a petition in NGT against the Bhanpur site, told HT that it was unfortunate that authorities don't care even about the warnings of NGT. Pandey alleged that Bhanpur landfill site is being used illegally for the last over 30 years.
He added that according to a letter written to BMC in 2013, the MP pollution control board had conve-yed that no permission had been granted for Bhanpur landfill.