The fire at the city’s biggest dumping ground at Deonar, was finally brought under control at 4am on Monday. Smoke engulfed areas in the eastern suburbs, including Govandi, Rafiq Nagar, Deonar, as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) continued with cooling operations on the ground.
A major fire broke out on Sunday morning at the dumping ground after garbage was found to burning in seven to eight areas, including Rafiq Nagar and Vashi Creek. This is the second major fire incident at the dumping ground since the first major fire was reported on January 28, which took almost a week to be fully controlled.
Eight fire incidents or pocket fires have been reported from the dumping ground in the past two months. A total of 145 officials; 70 fire fighters and 75 officials from the solid waste management department were working on the ground to control the fire since Sunday. Five bulldozers, six poclains, four JCBs, 14 fire engines, 2 mist tenders, 3 fire tankers, and 70 water tankers were (number increasing) pressed into service.
There was a small fire reported on Saturday too. However, it was brought under control. “Owing to the wind pattern, we faced a major problem in controlling the fire at the dumping ground. We had immediately increased the number of water tankers to supply water,” said a civic official.
The last time a fire had erupted at Deonar dumping ground, experts from IIT-B had said the accumulated methane gas under the garbage is one of the main reasons for the frequent fire.
IIT-Bombay had also suggested putting a system to capture methane gas and take it out from the dumping ground. However, the BMC is yet to implement the system. State environment minister Ramdas Kadam called it a ‘conspiracy’ to malign the Shiv Sena, which rules the BMC. “These frequent fires seem to be a conspiracy to malign the Sena. I have asked the chief minister to probe this aspect thoroughly,” he said.