Fire continues to rage in Delhi’s ‘garbage mountain’

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More than 16 hours after a massive fire broke out at a landfill site in the outer north area of the national capital, the blaze was still raging on Wednesday.

“The dumpyard is still burning and currently five fire tenders are dousing the flames,” a Fire Department official told IANS.

The residents of the area have started complaining of itchy eyes and breathing problems as plumes of thick smoke, billowing out of the burning garbage mountain, have enveloped the whole area.

The official informed that the process to put out the fire completely will still take some time. “We may need a JCB to excavate the dumping ground in pockets and put soil on it to extinguish the fire,” said the official. Delhi Fire Service chief Atul Garg informed that the situation is now under control.

The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, however, officials said the rising temperature these days allows the formation of methane gas at the dumpyard site which is extremely flammable. “It could have triggered a spark that would have ultimately led to this massive blaze,” said the official.

Experts have time and again said that to prevent such incidents at the dumping grounds, a layer of soil should be placed regularly after dumping the waste on the trash mountain. Whether it has been implemented or not, is yet to be learnt.

Notably, it is the second major incident of fire at a dumping yard in the past 30 days.

Earlier on March 28, a similar incident was reported from east Delhi’s Ghazipur landfill site. In that incident, an FIR was also registered against unknown people for making atmosphere noxious to health, negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter and endangering life or personal safety of others.

Meanwhile, the pollution levels have soared in the area. According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the air quality at the Dhirpur monitoring station, just 6 km from the landfill site, is currently under ‘severe’ category.

The pollutant PM 2.5 was at 316 (severe) and PM 10 at 251 (poor).

Usually, the air quality is categorised as ‘good’ when the AQI is between 0 to 30; ‘satisfactory’ between 31-60; ‘moderate’ between 61-90; ‘poor’ between 91-120; ‘very poor’ between 121-250; ‘severe’ at over 250.

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