Mumbai: Fire at Deonar dumping yard; smoke, fog inconvenience residents

A major fire that broke out at Mumbai’s largest and oldest dumping ground, Deonar, on Thursday morning has made life miserable for residents living around it.

Fire officials said that the blaze started at around 11 am on February 26, and while they had sent over four fire engines and three water tankers to bring it under control, smoke continues to billow from the dumping yard, leading to breathing difficulties for locals.

While the fire was brought under control yesterday, smoke from the garbage continues to billow in different directions from the dumping ground. Pics/Prashant Waydande
While the fire was brought under control yesterday, smoke from the garbage continues to billow in different directions from the dumping ground. Pics/Prashant Waydande

Residents have been posting photos of the ‘fog’ enveloped around the area and have been updating on social media platforms about the same. In its defence, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is blaming the recent demolition work of illegal structures as the cause of fire, which reportedly started from the cemetery end of the yard.

According to sources, some people, who were forced to move after the demolition, may have started the blaze to seek revenge. Dr Mandar Pimple, chief deputy engineer, Solid Waste Management, BMC, said that authorities, along with the fire department, are trying their best to control the smoke situation.

“We are using forklifts to scatter the burning garbage and the fire department is dousing the debris at the same time. Due to the wind and inflammable material at the dumping ground, it is a challenging task, but we should be able to bring it under control soon,” Pimple said.

Smothering smoke
Rajkumar Sharma, a Chembur resident, told mid-day that areas adjacent to Deonar such as Govandi, Ghatkopar, Chembur, Mankhurd and Trombay woke up to the stench of gas and smoke, making it difficult for them to breathe. “Initially, we thought it was smog. But when the smell of burning garbage filled the area later, we realised it was coming from the dumping ground.

The worst affected are people who are living in its vicinity. The smoke has now spread all the way to Ghatkopar and Mankhurd, depending on the direction of the wind,” he said, adding, “Authorities are simply fork-lifting wet garbage on dry garbage, which is not a solution at all.”

Sources told this paper that the dumping yard’s boundary wall can be easily breached, allowing people to roam around freely in the restricted area. “The fire was caused due to encroachment. Police officials should check the illegal structures inside the dumping area with the help of BMC authorities,” alleged a resident of Shivaji Nagar, on condition of anonymity.

Preventive measures
>> Stay indoors as much as possible
>> Use masks whenever you step outside
>> Use protective glasses to protect your eyes from ash particles
>> Keep eye lubricants handy and wash your eyes after coming home

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