Ghazipur landfill burns for 3rd time in a month

  • Several residents of the nearby Mulla colony, located about 500 metres away from the landfill, and those residing in several housing societies around the massive mountain of garbage, complained of difficulty in breathing and itching in the eyes.
Smoke billows from a fire at the Ghazipur landfill site, in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday, April 20, 2022. (Photo by Ajay Aggarwal/Hindustan Times)
Smoke billows from a fire at the Ghazipur landfill site, in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday, April 20, 2022. (Photo by Ajay Aggarwal/Hindustan Times)
Published on Apr 21, 2022 04:02 AM IST
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By, New Delhi

A massive fire spread through a section of the Ghazipur landfill in east Delhi -- the third such incident since March 28 this year -- on Wednesday, sending a dense plume of smoke several metres into the sky and causing a toxic haze around the area, police and fire department officials said.

Several residents of the nearby Mulla colony, located about 500 metres away from the landfill, and those residing in several housing societies around the massive mountain of garbage, complained of difficulty in breathing and itching in the eyes.

Atul Garg, director, Delhi Fire Services (DFS), said, “We have started the fire fighting operation. There are eight fire tenders working at the site. We have brought earth movers to remove the mound at some areas on the landfill and reach the fire spot. But because of poor light after sunset, it is difficult to reach there. The fire must have started because of the high temperature in the city. The gases at the landfill causes auto combustion.”

Shyam Sunder Aggarwal, mayor of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation which manages the landfill, said the fire was brought under control at a large portion of the waste site, but the operation was still going on till late Wednesday evening. “We are doing everything possible to control the fire today. The fire will be controlled in one or two hours,” he added.

Officials at the spot said it will take them several hours to douse the fire. Police and fire department officials said they will probe the cause of the fire, but added that it could have been triggered by the high day day temperature that might have ignited the flammable gases generated by the waste.

Experts also said that high levels of methane at the landfill, aided by high temperature, may have caused the fire. On Wednesday, Delhi’s maximum temperature was recorded at 41.2 degrees Celsius. It was as high as 44.3 degrees Celsius at the Yamuna Sports Complex station -- the nearest located to the landfill.

Last month, a huge portion of the landfill went up in the flames on March 28, and the fire raged for almost three days. A week later, there was another fire on April 9.

Till late Wednesday evening, the dark smoke at the landfill was visible from the Delhi-Meerut Expressway and nearby areas.

Israr Ahmed,33, who runs a small hardware shop at Mulla colony, said, “If the winds are strong, the smoke reaches our shops and it becomes impossible to sit and work. In such a case, people shut their shop for the day and head home, often staying indoors, until there is some improvement.”

Atin Biswas, programme director, Municipal Solid Waste at the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said, the landfill was catching fire because the authorities may be not following the norms to cut the flow of flammable gases.

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