Adharwadi dump yard fire doused after 15 hours; KDMC team on alert
Kalyan After 15 hours, the fire which broke out at Adharwadi dumping ground in Kalyan on Wednesday afternoon was finally doused.
Adharwadi dumping ground caught fire around 1.20pm on Wednesday and was doused at 4am on Thursday. More than 18 water tankers were used to douse the fire. Even after the fire was doused, think smoke continued to billow from the dumping ground on Thursday.
Umakant Gaikwad, deputy municipal commissioner of solid waste management department of Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC), said, “The fire-fighting continued for over 15 hours. Each of the 18 tankers contained 10,000 litres of water, while water from the nearby sewage tank and creek was also used to douse the fire.”
The smoke was brought under control around 5pm on Thursday.
“The strong winds made it difficult to douse the fire as it spread rapidly. We had to spray water and soil to stop the smoke billowing out. The cooling process will continue and our team will keep a watch for any more fires,” said Gaikwad.
Around 60 employees of the solid waste department and fire brigade team were deployed to douse the fire. KDMC is making an access road to enable the rescue vehicles to reach the dumping ground easily.
Gaikwad said, “When the fire broke out there was no access road. It became difficult for the fire tenders to reach the spot. We had to construct a pathway using gravel. Earlier, we had made an access road but it got buried under the garbage pile.”
The fire led to panic-like situation among residents who complained of suffocation and strong stench emanating from the dumping ground. The residents have demanded a short-term solution to the frequent fires at the dumping ground.
Residents and activists have demanded concrete measures to curb such incidents. KDMC has claimed that the closure of the dump yard will take time as the civic body is working to identify an alternative space to dump and treat the 650 metric tonnes of waste generated daily in Kalyan and Dombivli.
Sreeniwas Ghanekar, founder of the Alert Citizens’ Forum, who has been fighting against the dump yard for the past two years, said segregating waste can be a solution.
“The waste dumped at the dump yard is not segregated and so methane gas is formed. Even though the alternative spaces are not ready, the civic body can at least segregate the waste at the dump yard which will curb fire incidents,” said Ghanekar.
Residents of Adharwadi, Khadakapada and Wadeghar locality have protested many times against fire incidents at the dump yard in the past three years.
Residents also demanded decentralised treatment of waste instead of a common dumping ground.
Mahisha Iyer, a resident of Wadeghar, Kalyan (West), said ward-wise waste treatment plant can also be a solution burden on the dumping ground.
“Why can’t Dombivli’s waste be managed in Dombivli instead of transporting it to Kalyan? There should be a provision for decentralised treatment of waste in most major localities so that all garbage is not dumped in one place,” said Iyer.
The civic body has plans to operate two scientific landfilling (SLF) — one at Umbarde and the other at Barave village in Kalyan (West). With the partly functioning of the Umbarde SLF, the civic body has managed to divert 80 metric tonnes of waste from Adharwadi to the SLF. The total capacity of the SLF is 350 metric tonnes. Barave has a capacity of 350 metric tonnes.
In December 2018, residents of Adharwadi and nearby premises had taken up the responsibility of segregating plastic waste at half acre of the dumpyard and they managed to reduce the height of the piled-up waste by 10 feet. The dumpyard sprawls across 5.5 hectare of land and is around 25-foot deep.
Residents living near the dumpyard segregated waste for a month on their own by taking help of
“However, it had to be stopped as there was no cooperation from the civic body. There are around 300 ragpickers in the area. The civic body could have hired them and continued the segregation process,” said Ghanekar.
Another suggestion by the forum was spraying decomposer on the pile of waste.
KDMC supported the forum with spraying the waste with decomposer but this did not continue for long. Spraying waste decomposer solution on the waste helps decompose the wet waste and reduce it by 30% in 40 days. Currently, around 80% of the waste accumulated at the dumping ground is wet waste and the rest is dry.
Residents claimed that none of the suggestions was taken up by KDMC.
KDMC commissioner Govind Bodke visited the dump yard on Thursday and reviewed the fire-fighting operations.
“The initiative suggested by residents did not yield any major result. It was not effective and feasible. We have already placed a water pipeline at the dump yard to ensure the fire is doused. Security guards have been deployed to prevent any major incident. We will take all necessary steps to make sure there is no fire at the dump yard,” said Bodke.