Mohammad Sarfaraz lives a few hundred metres from a stench emanating mountain of garbage. Twenty five-year-old Sarfaraz has been hearing tales of a promised transformation for sometime but his wait for a better day, where he gets clean air to breathe in his Ghazipur home, seems never-ending.
“The site has already exhausted its capacity. The whole area will develop if this is transformed into a green space. Our lives will be better. The real estate scenario will also look up. Who wants to stay near a stinking dump? And with fumes rising from waste being burnt, it is more dangerous for people like us,” said Sarfaraz, a resident of Ghazipur Gaon.
Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director for research and advocacy, Centre for Science and Environment, told Hindustan Times that local exposure to toxic gases that come out because of open burning of waste releases particulate matter and toxins that are extremely harmful.
“The methane generated at the land fill site is flammable. At times, these burn up and generate smoke. You can use it for power generation through a waste-to-energy plant,” Roychowdhury said.
YS Mann, spokesperson of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation, echoed Roychowdhury. “This methane production is not due to garbage burning. It is a common phenomenon at landfill sites. The garbage at these sites is around 5-25 years old and as it decomposes various greenhouse gas comes out,” Mann said.
“We have already taken up 10 acres of land for a landfill closure and gas capturing project on a trial basis with GAIL. This area has been covered with a green layer and 20-odd pipes are sucking out the gas trapped inside at the rate of 150-200 cubic meters per hour. Out of the gases sucked out, 25% is methane,” he said.
Residents, however, want more proactive action to be taken against this 70-acre dump, which can easily beat any 10-storey building in terms of height. “The Ghazipur sanitary landfill site still continues to cater to the entire waste load of East Delhi and is a menace for people living in the vicinity,” BS Vohra of the East Delhi Resident Welfare Associations Joint Front said.