Mumbai: Deonar dumping ground to take time to be fully functional

The fire department had asked the BMC to reduce the number of waste collection vehicles at Deonar dumping ground for easy mobility.

Deonar dumping ground will take some more time to be fully functional, as per its maximum capacity. After the latest inferno on March 26, the fire department has asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to reduce the number of waste collection vehicles coming into the dumping ground for better mobility.

Repeated fires at the Deonar garbage dumpyard have contributed heavily to air pollution in Mumbai. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi
Repeated fires at the Deonar garbage dumpyard have contributed heavily to air pollution in Mumbai. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi

"Yes, we had asked them (BMC) to reduce the load on Deonar when 12-14 fire engines were deployed in Deonar after the March fire. But now, things are under control and operations can be resumed. The solid waste management department should take a call,” said P S Rahangdale, chief fire officer.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi touring the Deonar garbage dumpyard in the aftermath of repeated fires
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi touring the Deonar garbage dumpyard in the aftermath of repeated fires

The city generates approximately 10,500 metric tonnes of waste everyday of which around 3700 MT goes to Deonar, 3000 MT to Kanjur and 2600 MT goes to Mulund. A good 500-550 trucks used to come to Deonar before the March fire broke out. But since March, Deonar receives not more than 300 trucks. The rest are being sent to Mulund, which also caught fire recently.

The pocket fires at Deonar continue to simmer unabated since January. While the first one broke out on January 27, the latest one was on March 26. The reasons behind these are never ascertained: while the police suspected methane gas, BMC officials claimed sabotage after the March 27 fire.

Apart from the repeated fires, visits by politicians also cause for the operations to be shut. The visit by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday halted work at the Deonar ground till 2 PM as the Special Protection Group had taken over the area.

“Fires and the subsequent VIP visits are becoming a burden for us. We haven't been able to carry our routine operations. We have to send the surplus to Mulund, which is already functioning beyond its capacity,” said a civic official on condition of anonymity.

The Bombay High Court had given the November 2015 deadline to close down both the Deonar and Mulund dumping grounds. The BMC at that time had decided to shut down only the Mulund one but, like Deonar, it continues to function till now. The civic body’s plan to make scientific waste disposal a reality will sure take some time.

Waste is processed scientifically only in Kanjurmarg that was opened in March last year.

Line of fire

Deonar:
March 26
March 20
February 14
January 27

Mulund:
April 11
March 20

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