64 fire cases reported in Delhi’s Ghazipur landfill site in last 5 yrs

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New Delhi: As many as 64 fire cases were reported from Delhi’s Ghazipur landfill site in between 2017 to 2022, as per a data issued by the Government on Tuesday.

In a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityananad Rai said the number of fire incidents reported in the Ghaziour landfill in 2017-18 were 31, 18 in 2018-19, six each in 2019-20 and 2020-21, and three in 2021-22.

“The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has informed that the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) had conducted a study on potential causes of fires at landfill site. The study inter-alia analysed the risk of potential ignition of various types of waste based on their age with seasonal variations,” he said in response to another question on causes of the fire incidents.

For regulating the solid waste management, the Minister said the Ministry of Environment and Forests has framed the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

“A well defined standard operating procedure (SOP) is also in place. The MCD follows these provisions scrupulously for solid waste management, for obviating any probable health hazards,” Rai added.

The Ghazipur dump site receives almost 3,000 metric tonnes of waste every day, delivered by around 700 trucks. The mountain of waste at present is around 65 metres tall (around 213 ft), which is almost at par with the height of the Taj Mahal, which is around 73 metres.

The height of this waste mountain rises by 10 m every year. Currently, the Ghazipur mountain is 8 metres short of the Qutub Minar.

The Ghazipur landfill was commissioned by the Delhi government in 1984. It had crossed the capacity in 2002 itself. Despite this, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has done nothing in the last two decades to resolve this issue. The problem is aggravating with each passing day.

The frequent fires that break out at the site are a menace to tens of thousands of people living near the landfill. The waste which catches fire releases Nitrous Oxide, Carbon Dioxide; a cause of breathing ailments for the people.

Even the stench which arises from waste is a big issue. Children suffer the worst. Asthma, shortness of breath, stunted growth are some of the common ailments seen in the children around the Ghazipur dump site.

In December 2020, a Delhi Assembly environment meeting was held to discuss the Ghazipur landfill. When the issue was raised by AAP MLA Atishi Marlena, East Delhi BJP MP Gautam Gambhir said that around 3,000 metric tonnes of waste was being processed every day and by 2024, the entire garbage would be processed.

He had said that by the end of 2023, 50% of the dump will be processed, and 100% of it will be processed by the end of 2024.

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