Today it is Ghazipur, tomorrow it can be Bhalswa or Okhla in Delhi, say experts
Two people died in East Delhi after a part of the Ghazipur garbage landfill collapsed on Friday afternoon, causing several people on a road nearby to be swept into a canal.delhi Updated: Sep 01, 2017 19:00 IST
The collapse of the mountain of garbage on Friday at east Delhi’s Ghazipur, in which two people were killed, was a disaster waiting to happen, say experts.
They warned that if today it was Ghazipur, tomorrow it could be Bhalswa or Okhla, home to two other overflowing landfills.
In July this year, the National Green Tribunal had rapped the Delhi government over the lack of infrastructure to deal with decaying garbage at dumping sites while Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal had stressed on efficient solid waste management strategies to address the problem in January.
Delhi generates around 14,000 tonnes of garbage every day. Three of the four landfills in Delhi ran out of space nearly a decade ago.
At times, fires break out in these garbage dumps, triggering heavy air pollution.
“This disaster was waiting to happen. Any dumping site has a specific longevity. But all these dumping sites have long crossed their age. The issue have been raised many times but little has been done on the ground,” said Swati Sambyal, programme manager (waste management) at Centre for Science and Environment.
Experts pointed out that in all the sites, the height of the garbage heap had touched nearly 50 metres, against the permissible height of 20 metres.
In 2016, the Supreme Court had compared the height of garbage dumps with that of Qutab Minar.
“The heavy rain in Delhi might have acted as a trigger but this disaster was just waiting to happen. Dumping and landfill should be our last resort. Ideally, waste should be segregated at source with appropriate processing at the nearest facility. In cities such as Delhi, such sites are hazardous and toxic hotspots...landfills only vitiate the water and air,”said Ravi Agarwal director of Toxic Link
Experts said dumping sites after their longevity become very unstable. Elements such as plastic make them more vulnerable to landslides as the land fails to get compacted.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar had recently directed the state government to inform the tribunal on the steps taken to reduce the height of garbage dumps at Bhalswa, Ghazipur and Okhla.