Dumping ground fire chokes Chandigarh
Dumping ground fire chokes Chandigarh

Dumping ground fire chokes Chandigarh

However, the Air Quality Index did not show any unusual rise at any of the observatories in the city
By Rajanbir Singh, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON FEB 23, 2021 12:32 AM IST

Even as the fire department had earlier claimed to have brought under control the blaze that erupted at the Dadumajra dumping ground on Sunday afternoon, it kept smouldering on Monday, emanating thick plumes of smoke that were carried across the city by winds, causing inconvenience to residents. According to officials, it will take at least another day to douse the fire completely.

While people in northern and western sectors woke up to a hazy morning, those residing in the south-east corner of the city, as far as in Sectors 48 and 49, also complained of difficulty in breathing due to smoke in the air.

However, the Air Quality Index (AQI) did not show any unusual rise at any of the observatories in the city, according to Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee member secretary Debendra Dalai.

At the monitoring station in Sector 25, which is located close to the dumping site and gives continuous data, AQI stayed at 125, as per the daily bulletin. Even in the previous days, it was staying in the 100-200 range, which comes under the moderate bracket. The highest value of PM 2.5 was recorded at 157 during the day.

“Though there was lesser smoke on Monday as compared to Sunday, there was a cover of haze and white ash was also seen falling,” said Pankaj Gupta, president of the resident welfare association in Sector 38 West, which is located next to the dumping ground.

Surinder Sharma, president, RWA, Sector 15, said: “Besides smoke, we could feel the foul smell as well. The administration needs to do something to address this problem.” Jatinder Mehta, vice-president, RWA, Sector 49, said: “There was a layer of smoke in the morning, and it smelled foul as well. However, later, the smoke dissipated.”

Winds, methane at landfill fuel fire

The fire had been controlled in the morning, but as winds started blowing, they made the things worse, said a fire official who visited the spot. “As the fire erupted near a landfill, methane gas emanating from there kept fuelling it. We were putting sand to douse the flames, but winds kept blowing it away and made the fire spread further,” he said, adding that the things are likely to be brought under control by Tuesday.

Fires frequently break out Dadumajra dumping site, which has around five lakh tonnes of legacy waste. A similar fire in October 2020 had put residents to inconvenience for days, with many complaining of irritation in eyes and throat.

Amardeep Singh, president, RWA, Sector 39B, said, “Living in close proximity to the dumping site, we are fed up with the fires. An inquiry needs to be conducted to find the reasons and rule out any foul play.”

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