Major fire breaks out at dumping ground in Kalyan
Fire in Adharwadi dumping ground releases thick smoke into entire Kalyan (West) region, officials still trying to douse itUpdated: Mar 11, 2018 00:32 IST
A major fire broke out on all sides of the Adharwadi dumping ground on Saturday evening, releasing thick smoke into the entire Kalyan (West) region. This is the second time this year the dumping ground has caught fire and the first time the entire ground caught fire from all sides. Earlier this week, on Tuesday night, fire broke out in a small portion of the dump yard. However, it took around 15 hours for the fire officials to douse the fire as it penetrated inside the waste piled in the dump yard.
Soon after the fire was reported, two fire-tenders were initially rushed to the spot. As the blaze kept spreading, two more fire-tenders were added to the firefighting operation. Around 10 water tanks have been sent to the spot.
“Due to strong wind the fire has spread to all the four sides of the dumping ground. It is becoming very difficult to control the fire as it is spreading everywhere. We have pressed all our officials to the spot to work on dousing it,”said Dilip Gund, chief fire officer, Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC).
He added,” The cause of the fire is suspected to be heat in the atmosphere”.
Residents could view the entire six-acre dumping ground on fire from their terraces and balconies. They complained about thick smoke entering their houses leading to suffocation.
“This is the first time it looks as if the entire dumping ground has caught fire. It looks scaryas the fire is spreading throughout the dump yard. Thick smoke has covered the most of the areas in Kalyan (West). Smoke is entering our house, making it difficult to breathe,” said Sreeniwas Ghanekar, who lives near the dump yard at Agra road, Kalyan (West).
Following the incident, KDMC commissioner P Velarasu instructed fire officials to conduct a detailed study on the cause of repeated fire incidents.
“I have asked the fire officials to ensure there is no loss of property or lives in the incident. The fire department will also conduct a study on what is the cause of the repeated fire incidents and according to it,we will take preventive measures,” said Velarasu.
There are several residential complexes, school and hospital 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 the summer of 2016, the saturated dumping ground caught fire several times, making life tough for residents of the nearby areas. The situation deteriorated to such an extent 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 began last month, and the civic body aims to close it scientifically in the next four to five years.
Although it has started the closure work, waste is still dumped at this dumping ground as there is no alternative space available.
The dumping of waste at Adharwadi will stop only once the project of waste segregation and converting waste into compost at Umbarde (350 metric tonnes) and Barave (200 metric tonnes) begin.
About the dumping ground:
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 over it. 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.
‘Hard to control the fire’
Fire department officials claim that it became difficult for them to douse the blaze as it penetrated inside the waste piled up in the ground. “When our officials saw that the blaze was doused they stopped the operation but after some hours, the fire was again visible. This is because the blaze penetrated inside the waste. We cannot reach deep inside the waste, we can only douse the fire from its upper layer,” said Dilip Gund, chief fire officer, KDMC.
He added, “As the fire department is located opposite to the dumping ground it becomes very convenient for our officials and vehicles to reach there on time and start the operations without delay. We will keep a watch on such incidents and take prompt action”.