12 hrs on, fire in Kalyan dumping ground not put out; residents struggle as smoke blankets area
Fire broke out around 10pm on Tuesday, possibly because of atmospheric heat, say officials; fire-fighting operations continuemumbai Updated: Mar 07, 2018 11:33 IST
Thick, black smoke continued to billow out of Adharwadi dumping ground in Kalyan (west) on Wednesday morning, after a fire broke out at the site on Tuesday night, badly affecting residents who live in the vicinity.
The fire started at the dumping ground, which is spread over six acres, around 10pm.
“Fire-fighting operations continued till 3am. It was very difficult to control the fire as the entire area was covered with thick smoke and visibility was poor,” said Sudhakar Kulkarni, fire officer, Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC). “We suspect the fire was triggered by the heat in the atmosphere.”
“The fire was not put out completely, so we resumed fire-fighting operations again in the morning,” he said, adding that two fire tenders and two private water tankers are at the spot.
“It is difficult to take preventive measures because the area is huge. However, the fire department is equipped to handle such situations,” said P Velarasu, KDMC commissioner.
Local residents, meanwhile, struggled. “The thick smoke has entered our homes, making it difficult to breathe. We could not even sleep as it is suffocating,” said Madhav Shinde, 34, a resident of Wadeghar in Kalyan (west). “The civic body should complete the closure work without delay.”
There are several residential complexes and a slum colony near the dumping ground, and residents have been demanding that it be shut it down for a decade now.
The KDMC started operating the dumping ground in 1984. Around 650 metric tonnes of waste is dumped into it every day. The dump was filled to capacity years ago, and continued dumping has led to considerable pollution problems, especially in the past three years.
In 2016, during summer, the saturated dumping ground caught fire several times, making life tough for residents of the nearby areas. The situation deteriorated so badly that many residents were shifted out of their houses. Following this, the KDMC has speeded up work on closing the dumping ground. Work for closure of the ground started last month, and the civic body aims to close it scientifically in the next four to five years.
The dumping ground attracted the attention of the Bombay high court and the National Green Tribunal following reports on the KDMC’s failure to manage the waste dumped in it and residents’ protests. On April 13, 2015, the court banned sanctions for housing projects in the civic body’s jurisdiction. The NGT has asked the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board to keep track of the work done by the KDMC with regard to solid waste management.