In pics: Shut Deonar dumping ground, demand residents as air worsens

  • Badri Chatterjee, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Feb 03, 2016 13:20 IST
More than 500 citizens wearing black clothes and pollution masks as a sign of protest, held A three-hour-long demonstration demanding answers as to why the fire that started last Wednesday t had not been doused yet

Mumbaikars held a protest march on Wednesday in lieu of the Deonar dumping ground issue. The air quality in Mumbai continued to remain in the “very poor” category for the sixth consecutive day since the Deonar fire broke out.

More than 500 citizens wearing black clothes and pollution masks as a sign of protest, held A three-hour-long demonstration demanding answers as to why the fire that started last Wednesday t had not been doused yet.

The protesters began the march from Panjrapole at 8.30am and and went up till Chembur naka.

The protest that began from the Chhatrapati Shivaji statue at Deonar to Ambedkar Garden in Chembur . Citizens were seen carrying posters highlighting the problem of uncontrolled dumping and the thick smog persisting across the eastern suburbs in Mumbai.

Silent protest held in Mumbai a Mumbaikars battle toxic air due to fire at the Deonar dumping ground.

For the sixth day in a row the air quality index (AQI) - pollution measuring indicator continued to fall under the ‘very poor’ red category at 307. The System for Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) that monitors air quality at 10 locations in the city observed ‘very poor’ air quality at five out of the 10 locations with Chembur being the most polluted at a whopping 372. AQI levels had gone up to as high as 341 for Mumbai two days after the fire began at Deonar last week.

“We want this dump yard that has been functioning since 1927 to be permanently shut down as it is a serious health hazard,” said Indresh Pradhan, a Chembur resident. “There are no scientific methods being utilised nor any alternate mechanism to process garbage by the civic body at this site. We have been breathing this polluted air for too long now and we are fed up.”

The series of high pollution is expected to further continue with an estimated AQI of 308 has been predicted for Mumbai for Thursday.

“The main source of pollutant particles released from biomass combustion has not stopped and this has continued to deplete Mumbai’s air quality. Before the first batch of pollutants can be completely dispersed, 10 times the amount is again released from the landfill. Meteorological conditions too have not favoured the problem as he winds are calm, suspending pollutants closer to earth’s surface,” Gufran Beig, project director, SAFAR.

For the last six days, a health alert has been triggered and Mumbaiites have been asked to use pollution masks under a health advisory by SAFAR.

During the agitation on Tuesday morning, people from as far as Andheri, Wadala and Navi Mumbai had come down after the smog had spread to different ends of the city. “As a senior citizen, I realise that I may not have much time but I am here today to safeguard the future of my family and demand breathable air for them. I do not want my grandchildren to develop lung related ailments for no fault of their own,” said 72-year-old Uttam Jadhav, resident of Govandi.

Another resident, Vandana Tripathi pointed out that she had stopped sending both her children to school due to the smog. “Recurring cough, throat irritation and a burning sensation in the eyes is what my whole family has been experiencing for seven days now. If the establishment is incapable of dousing a fire for over a week, then they should shut down the landfill. It’s not only a problem for one end of the city anymore, soon a million people in this city will inhale this toxic smoke,” she said.

Doctors pointed out that the number of cases related to lung and heart ailments have skyrocketed since last Wednesday. “The Intensive Care unit at most hospitals in the area are flooded with patients suffering from the harmful effects of breathing this toxic air and the authorities might be trying their best but its not enough,” said Dr Sandeep Rane, cardiologist and Chembur resident.

The aerial view of Deonar from an aircraft preparing to land at Mumbai airport on Wednesday

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