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Friday, September 24, 2021

Delhi: Parts of Bhalswa landfill collapses onto homes below

The dump site at Bhalswa is the city’s second largest, after the one at Ghazipur — parts of which had collapsed in 2017, killing two people and injuring five.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: August 25, 2021 7:30:55 am
Waste at the site has been falling onto nearby homes in the past few days. (Express photo)

With the biomining of legacy waste at the Bhalswa landfill far from complete, sections of the tottering pile of waste at the site have been falling onto nearby homes in the past few days. North MCD officials have attributed the collapse to rainfall.

Biomining landfill sites is aided by bioremediation — microbe-mediated degradation of organic waste — and is carried out to process waste lying for several years.

An official of the corporation said a mound of waste, around 10 metres high, had fallen on Monday since the recent rain had destabilised the landfill. Excavators have been deployed in the area to clear the waste that has fallen and even out sections of the landfill to prevent another collapse, the official said.

BJP councillor Vijay Bhagat, who represents Swami Shardhanand Colony, said some waste had fallen again on Tuesday morning, though it had caused no damage or injury.

Ramnath Kamath, who lives about 50 metres from the landfill, said a large mound of garbage fell near a cluster of five to six homes at 7.30 am on Monday. Since the door to his home was open, he said the pile of waste spilt inside and blocked the entry and the pathway before the house.

A smaller chunk of waste from the landfill fell again on Tuesday morning, a little down the path from his home, said Kamath, who works at a petrol pump. While waste has fallen from the landfill before, this was the first time that a large portion had collapsed, bringing waste right up to their homes, he added.

Garbage was still being cleared on Tuesday. While cleaning the waste was a difficult task, there was no damage to his home, said Kamath.

A total of 24 trommels are at Bhalswa for biomining of waste, though they do not operate during the monsoon, said a North MCD official. Standing committee chairman of the North MCD Jogi Ram Jain said they have placed orders for additional trommels to bring the number up to 73. The AAP had recently alleged discrepancies in the use of trommels and their purchase.

The dump site at Bhalswa is the city’s second largest, after the one at Ghazipur — parts of which had collapsed in 2017, killing two people and injuring five.

As part of biomining of legacy waste, around 19 lakh tons out of a total of 80 lakh tons have been processed so far at Bhalswa, an official said. Fresh waste, however, continues to be dumped at the landfill — around 2,200 tons — every day, the official added. The landfill had a height of around 65 metres before biomining began, he said.

According to data from 2020 from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, the North MCD generates 4,500 tons of waste daily.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, AAP’s Vikas Goel, who is the Leader of Opposition in the North MCD, alleged that the BJP-ruled MCD had not taken any action to ensure the safety of people living near the landfill.

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