As cooling operations continue in the Deonar dumping ground, residents of slums lining the massive dumpyard say this time the fire was worse than the one that struck in January. The smoke was so dense on both Sunday and Monday morning that visibility even within the tiny homes was poor.
Mobile repair shopowner Abu Bakr’s mother suffers from asthma. On Monday, he decided to wait for one more day before visiting the doctor. “She has started taking her medicines for asthma in case the fits return. In the morning the smoke is so thick that we can’t even see each other in the same house,” he said. His wife is pregnant and the couple is keeping all doors and windows shut to ward off smoke. “But it gets very hot inside,” he added.
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Residents of Rafique Nagar, Baiganwadi and of the areas around the dumping ground are now set to protest in Govandi on Tuesday against the dumping of waste in the area. “The Deonar ground is already functioning beyond capacity. We do not want any more waste to be added here,” said Wakar Khan, whose house is a lane away from the dumping ground’s entrance. On Monday, he decided to send his children to school after winds cleared the smoke during the day and visibility improved.
“Early in the morning, the smog settles down everywhere in this area,” he said.
According to Dr Sandeep Gaikwad, health officer of M-East ward, nebuliser have already been provided along with cough syrup and medication at Kamla Nagar health post. “We have issued instructions to doctors on field to provide treatment to those suffering from eye burns or coughing fits,” Gaikwad said.
With the smoke, doctors said residents are likely to suffer from eye irritation, worsening of bronchial asthma, cough, cold and throat irritation. While the cases of patients have not surged at the local health post, several slumdwellers said the coughs are not critical enough to visit a doctor but uncomfortable enough to constantly bear.
Nazreen Irfan Khan has five children of which one is down with fever. “By evening, the smoke starts to settle. When I went to our terrace, I could see a thick cloud of it,” she said. She has not visited any doctor yet, but all eight members in her family are coughing throughout the night. She is worried the smoke will further worsen her ailing son’s health.