A major fire at the Mulund dumping ground, which has engulfed the area in smoke, has once again highlighted the poor civic solid waste management in Mumbai.
Residents said the fire has been raging since Monday.
According to civic officials, the fire is similar to the one at Deonar dumping ground. “We are yet to ascertain the cause of the fire in Mulund. The incident was reported to us on Tuesday night. The fire department and the solid waste management department are at the spot,” said Minesh Pimple, deputy chief engineer, solid waste management, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
Subraminam Iyer, member of Hari Om Nagar Apex Body Federation, said, “The fire has been continuing for three days. We have received complaints about the smoke from various residential colonies, including ones in Kopri (Thane east) and Naupada (Thane).”
“Many residents complained of irritation in their eyes and there have also been cases of skin rashes,” said Iyer, adding that children and senior citizens were affected the most by the smoke.
Started in 1970, the Mulund dumping ground, though the smallest compared to others in the city, has been very poorly managed. With an area of 25 acres, the ground receives 2,500 metric tonnes of waste every day, as stated by the BMC, and is close to saturation now.
According to a letter from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) on January 24, 2014, to the municipal commissioner, about 4,500 metric tonnes from 12 municipal wards were collected and dumped at Mulund without any treatment and it was observed that the site was being operated in an unscientific manner.
“After the MPCB issued the notice last year, the BMC moved court explaining the problems faced in managing dumping grounds. We have been given a year to close Mulund and Deonar dumping grounds. Necessary action is being taken to solve the matter in the next six months,” said Prakash Patil, deputy municipal commissioner who heads the solid waste management department.