The Ghazipur landfill site, which caught fire more than two weeks ago, has been spewing toxic fumes. The landfill, near the Delhi-UP border, is being fuelled by methane gas trapped in the garbage dump.
The pollutants pose a severe health risk to residents of Kaushambi, Vaishali and Mayur Vihar. Smoke clouds can even be seen from the top of apartments located two kilometres away.
Vinay Kumar Mittal, president of Kaushambi Apartments Residents Welfare Association, said Kaushambi residents were sick of the stench from the site. "We took up the issue with the National Green Tribunal [NGT]. It has now started collecting air samples from the area," Mittal said.
According to a research article published in the International Journal Of Environmental Sciences in 2014, unsecure landfill areas add to soil, air and water pollution. Besides, the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) from these landfills pose global warming risk.
Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director of Centre for Science and Environment, said, “Such uncontrolled burning of waste leads to a steep spike in carbon dioxide and methane in the air. These pollutants cause coughing, irritation of the eyes, nausea, breathing difficulties and other respiratory problems.” She added that waste generated from the city includes recyclable dry waste and non-recyclable wet waste. "The municipal corporations must pick up dry and wet waste separately and make sure that recyclable and raw waste does not reach the site. It is high time the government upgraded its waste-management system," she said.
When City Spidey took up the issue with Yogendra Singh Mann, director (Press & Information), East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), he said, “The EDMC is aware of the situation. The garbage pile, with combustible gases trapped inside, automatically caught fire due to heat and friction. The municipal corporation has already tied up with GAIL [Gas Authority of India Limited] to tap the gases and generate energy.”
He also said that garbage at the over-flowing Ghazipur site had accumulated over 25 to 30 years. "Waste-management technology was not too efficient earlier. Now we are trying to re-engineer the system and incorporate newer technologies for waste management. We have also requested the DDA to provide more land for disposal of waste and garbage," Mann added.