Delhi’s Ghazipur landfill collapse: 2 dead as mountain of trash sweeps many into nearby canal
Two people died in East Delhi after a large part of the Ghazipur landfill — which should have been closed 15 years ago — collapsed on Friday afternoon, sweeping several people on a road nearby into a canal.
The victims were identified as 30-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man, said Omvir Singh, DCP (east). Five others were rescued when locals dived into the fast-flowing canal.
The Ghazipur landfill is among four dumpsites in the national capital, spread over 70 acres and towering to a height taller than a 15-storey building. The mountain of trash is a stark reminder of administrative apathy and the capital’s struggle with waste management.
Dumping should have been halted when the landfill reached a height of 20 metres, but when it collapsed on Friday, it was 50 metres high. With no alternatives to dispose the 10,000 tonne of garbage generated by Delhi every day, the city keeps adding to the mountain of stinking, towering eyesore daily. The East Delhi Municipal Corporation officials said the threat of more such landslides remain.
Municipality officials said they were investigating the reason for the collapse, but experts said a recent spell of heavy rains was possibly one of the triggers.
The victims were on the road connecting Ghaziabad and Noida when the collapse occurred at 2:45pm. If it had happened later during rush hour, casualties could have been higher.
The road is flanked by canals on either side. The landfill is across from one of the canals, and when a part of it collapsed into the water, it sent a large wave of water onto the road.
The impact was such that a Hyundai X-cent sedan, two motorcycles and a scooter were swept into the drain. By the time residents and government agencies fished out people from the water, two were already dead.
These included Rajkumari, a 30-year-old former accountant, and Abhishek, a 20-year-old DU student. Rajkumari, who was riding a scooty, was set to be married in December. Abhishek was riding pillion on a motorcycle with a friend after buying chicken from Ghazipur.
Abhishek’s friend Deepak, who was rescued after a 10-minute struggle in the dirty drain, said he thought it was an earthquake.
“There was a loud explosion from somewhere and then we felt as if the land was shaking. Immediately, a big wave of water hit us. There was no time to shout for help. Next thing I remember is us drowning in dirty water. I thought I was dead,” Deepak told Hindustan Times.