A massive fire broke out at Bhalswa landfill on the evening of April 26, 2022. Over ten Delhi Fire Services (DFS) fire tenders were used to control the fire. In the last one month, this is fourth such large-scale fire in Delhi’s landfill site, which makes this a matter of worry. The other three fire incidents were reported from Ghazipur, a landfill in East Delhi.
The real cause of this fire still not identified. It could have been because of methane generation or some human activity.
The frequency of such fires has increased with the rise in temperature. Earlier this year, a fire incident was reported at Ghazipur landfill on March 28, 2022 which went on for three days. Two more such incidents were reported there on on April 10 and April 20.
The areas including Ghazipur, Kondli, Patparganj, IP Extension, Kaushambi, and Khoda in Delhi and neighboring areas in Uttar Pradesh were affected due to the fire blaze in Ghazipur. The residents of these areas and some environment activists have raised concerns over such frequent incidents.
Vikrant Tongad, an environment activist from Noida, says, “The fire incidents at landfills are very normal nowadays. Landfills area major source to spread pollution. The fire contributes to air pollution. The problem of waste management has become serious now. Due to the burning of wastes, harmful gases are released in our environment which affects children and asthma patients. As per municipal solid waste rule, there should not be any landfill site. The waste should be segregated in different sectors as an alternative.”
Rajiva Singh, President, Noida Federation of Apartment Owners Associations, says, “The landfill sites have always been the most vulnerable sites for fire hazards. It comes in as a natural process where highly inflammable gases like methane are released due to the natural decomposing process of biodegradable waste. This becomes the prime reason for fire in such places. Landfill fires also add to already existing pollution in regions like Delhi NCR. We are already suffering enough from the existing vehicular and construction-related pollution in the region.”
He adds, “We need to make sure that this legacy waste is cleared at the earliest and no waste except the inert wastes are added to these landfills sites. Also till the time the above clearance of legacy waste is achieved, dedicated fire stations should be installed in close vicinity of all these landfill sights. Sufficient availability of water near these sites is expected to assure that in case of such fires, it can be quickly brought under control. Maybe water borewell or STP treated water lines can help to extinguish such landfill sites.”
Pushkar Raj Chandna, an environmental activist and a resident of Noida says, “We have seen many fire incidents in Ghazipur. The released gases from the landfill pollute water and air. The landfill slides also become a major problem during monsoon. We have to find the root cause problem and work on it. There is no society or authority that follows the laws of SWM16.