Part of Bhalswa landfill collapses after rain, 3 waste-pickers hurt
Three waste-pickers were injured when a section of the Bhalswa landfill in north Delhi collapsed on Thursday morning after overnight rain -- sending a grim reminder of the 2017 Ghazipur dumpyard collapse that claimed two lives.
Civic officials said the injured persons were immediately taken to hospital. Two were discharged within a few hours while the third one was undergoing treatment.
Ira Singhal, spokesperson of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, said a small portion at the back of the landfill collapsed in the morning due to overnight rain. “Three waste pickers were trapped in the slide at Bhalswa. They were all taken to hospital. Two have already been discharged. No personal details of them are available,” she said.
The Bhalswa landfill site is an open dumping ground near GT-Karnal road. Created in 1984, it is spread over 70 acres. Till October 2019, the landfill had attained a height of 65 metres, eight metres less than that of Qutub Minar.
It had reached its saturation point in 2006 but the landfill still receives about 2,100 metric tonnes of mixed waste every day. More than 80 lakh metric tonnes of legacy waste (old solid waste material) are dumped here.
The civic body had last month claimed to have reduced the height of the landfill by 12 metres by processing legacy waste with the help of 15 trommel machines. The officials said nearly 5.8 lakh tonnes of legacy waste had been segregated and processed till July 2020.
Vikas Goel, leader of opposition in the north corporation, blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party, which rules Delhi’s three civic bodies, for the accident.
“Three people were injured and 2-3 livestock were trapped in the debris. Had the portion of the landfill collapsed on the road, it would have led to serious casualties. The BJP is responsible as it failed to devise a permanent solution to the problem of dumping of waste at the landfill. The mayor of the corporation should take moral responsibility and resign,” Goel said.
Responding to the allegations, north mayor Jai Prakash said the municipality was making an effort to reduce the height of the landfill by segregation of waste.
“A small portion of 15 metres in length at the back of the landfill had collapsed. No casualty was reported. We are concerned about the landfill and that’s why we have deployed 15 trommel machines to segregate and process 4,500 metric tonnes legacy waste every day. By this process, we have reduced the height of the landfill by 12 metres in nine months,” the mayor said.
In September 2017, two people had died and several others were injured when a huge portion of the Ghazipur landfill in East Delhi had collapsed, sweeping away motorists on a nearby road into a canal.