The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has finished flattening 40 hectares of the Deonar garbage dump, the city’s largest, after six months of work. Garbage at the 132-hectare landfill had reached a height equivalent to a 32-storey building.
The ‘slope stabilization’ or the flattening of the dump was suggested by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)- Bombay after repeated deadly fires were reported at the landfill earlier this year.Along with flattening the garbage, the civic body also turned the lumps of waste upside down and sprinkled them with mud debris to cut off any oxygen supply as oxygen fuels fires.
The January 2016 fire at the dumping ground, which holds more than 12 million tonnes of waste had led to repeated pocket fires.
Experts said the unsystematic dumping of waste over 98 years and leaving waste untreated was what led to the accumulation of combustible methane gas, which fuelled the fires.
Following this, the BMC appointed IIT to submit a report of the technologies available to control the fires. According to the interim IIT report, 12.7 million tonnes of methane is potentially present in the landfill.
IIT’s final report will include the design of a gas well, used to trap methane. The BMC has dug a temporary gas collection well in the dumpyard to release methane.
To prevent fires in the future, the fire brigade has stationed permanent fire engines at the ground. It also plans to improve the internal roads at the site for easy access.