Garbage fires compound Ghaziabad’s pollution problem, 256 instances this year - Hindustan Times
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Garbage fires compound Ghaziabad’s pollution problem, 256 instances this year

Nov 24, 2021 12:09 AM IST

For a city reeling under high levels of pollution, solid waste or garbage burning has contributed a fair share to pollution throughout the year with 256 such instances reported till November 20 this year

For a city reeling under high levels of pollution, solid waste or garbage burning has contributed a fair share to pollution throughout the year with 256 such instances reported till November 20 this year. Officials of the district fire department said the incidents recorded this year are those for which they received complaints and the department intervened. Instances of garbage burning, however, could be higher, he said.

A pile of garbage set on fire near Indirapuram in Ghaziabad on Tuesday. (Sakib Ali)
A pile of garbage set on fire near Indirapuram in Ghaziabad on Tuesday. (Sakib Ali)

According to the official figures of the fire department, there were 392 garbage fires in 2019, 189 in 2020 and 256 till November 20 this year.

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“The instances of garbage burning were fewer last year due the lockdown and other restrictions that were put in place during the pandemic. The figures indicate only those instances, where complaints were registered with us. There could be many such incidents which go unreported,” said Sunil Kumar Singh, chief fire officer, Ghaziabad.

According to official data, the share of garbage fires is about 34.72% of the total 1,129 fire incidents reported in 2019.The share of garbage fires in 2020 was 20.76% with overall 910 fire incidents reported with the fire department.

In the current year, officials said, there have been about 1,000 fire incidents till November 20, of which garbage fires make up about 25.6%.

“Garbage fires are a major issue concerning the city. Sometimes, the contractors of different agencies, their staff set fire to garbage. In other cases, residents set up fires to get rid of roadside garbage, dry leaves, etc. The shortfall in processing about 600-700 metric tonnes of waste daily is making matters worse for the municipal corporation,” said Vikrant Sharma, a city-based environmentalist.

“On our part, we have been raising the issue of garbage fires since 2015 and so far, we have intervened in about 200 such incidents, which have mostly occurred near the Raj Nagar Extension and near the floodplains of Hindon river. Many such incidents on roadsides and even in residential localities go unreported,” Sharma added.

Officials of the UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) said garbage fires cause increase in PM2.5 levels.

“On our part, we have already given reminders to different agencies and local bodies to crack down on those engaging in garbage burning and also penalise offenders. There is no assessment on the share of garbage fires in city’s pollution levels but it definitely increases the PM2.5 levels,” said Utsav Sharma, regional officer of UPPCB.

As regards the shortfall in the waste processing capacity, municipal commissioner M S Tanwar said last week that efforts were on to procure more vehicles.

“We are trying to initiate work for our waste to energy plant at Galand and the work is likely to start next year. Further, we are also trying to plug the gap of a shortfall of about 300 vehicles which are to be used for door-to-door collection of solid waste. Of this, 100 vehicles will arrive in next 15 days while we have also sent a proposal to the state administration of sanctioning 21 for procuring 224 more vehicles,” Tanwar had said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Peeyush Khandelwal writes on a range of issues in western Uttar Pradesh – from crime, to development authorities and from infrastructure to transport. Based in Ghaziabad, he has been a journalist for almost a decade.

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