The Adharwadi dumping ground in Kalyan has been smouldering for the past five days. The fire that started on March 9 has spread in the area. While the fire brigade has been struggling to douse the flames, residents around the building have been facing health hazards. Meanwhile, Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) commissioner has come up with plans to prevent such incidents.
In 2016, Deonar dumping ground had witnessed a raging fire, the satellite images of which had shocked many. While Adharwadi is a much smaller dumping ground, the fire is as bad as the Deonar fire, said local residents. “The fire started on Friday night, but wasn’t this big. On Sunday, it turned into an inferno. The smoke was so thick that there was almost zero visibility,” said Nisha Karmakar, a resident of a building around the dumping ground.
She added, “The same happened on Monday evening. We couldn’t sleep on Monday night because of the smoke. Other than causing respiratory problems, it is irritating the skin and the eyes too.” The residents, told by the KDMC commissioner that they should relocate for a couple of days, are furious. “Where do we go? Our children have exams, we have jobs to do. Not everyone will have multiple houses in the city. So many of us don’t even have relatives. This is no solution,” Karmakar said.
The fire, according to KDMC commissioner P Velrasu, is because of abundance of methane at the dumping ground. “However, we are not ruling out other reasons like arson,” he said. To combat the situation, the commissioner said, everything is being done by the fire brigade. “We expect the fire to be doused soon,” he said.
There are also plans to prevent such incidents. “We are planning to install a sprinkler system that would drip water on the dumping ground. If the top layer is moist, it won’t catch fire, even if the gas leaks again. There is also a plan to build a road around the dumping ground for easy accessibility for the fire brigade. Work will start on both these soon,” he said.
Besides smoke and soot causing problems for residents, the heat has led to several animals, including snakes to leave the dumping ground and enter nearby compounds. In the past two days, Sarpa Mitra has already caught four snakes from nearby premises, sources said. “The snakes have been probably living amid the dumped waste. Now that it’s burning, they are moving to cooler spaces like underneath trees or basements of buildings,” said a resident of one of the nearby buildings, Hitesh Bajaj.
According to Karmakar, the society members in the area are forming a group. “We are all coming together and planning action against the authorities. It will be legal action, and we will not sit quietly anymore,” she said.