With a garbage dump in Sonsodo on fire from five days, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday asked a high-powered committee appointed to deal with the conflagration to work with better coordination.
At the dump, officials continued to grapple with the best ways to fight the fire even as it spread to a new slope of the almost 10-metre heap spread over 2 lakh sq metres. Nitin Raikar, Deputy Director of Fire Service, Goa said the fire was the biggest they had dealt with in a decade. Over 4,70,000 litres of water had already been used to douse sections of the flames but the methane gas trapped in other sections is making the going challenging, he said. The fire keeps erupting around slopes and seems to be difficult to control, he added.
“Over 148 fire personnel and 23 fire tenders have been exhausted on this exercise, and we are still looking at every other alternate measure to curb the fire. Now, we have asked for cranes and dumps of mud. This will go on as the weather and the temperatures are not helping either,” he added.
In the afternoon, with the fire spreading to another end of the slope, two aerial ladder services were deployed, though, Raikar admitted that they were of little help against the “mountain” of garbage.
The government has also reined in the services of Mumbai-based Tranquil Speciality Products for their chemical-based fire-fighting solutions. Smoke continued to billow through the area assisted by wind and weather conditions.
Yayati Sarode, from Tranquil said the initial use of water when the fire broke out may have worsened the situation. “But for a fire of this scale, water can be damaging as it could lead to more concentration of other gases,” he said.
“We have got 2,000 litres of chemical which we are helping spark and douse at several areas. The trouble we are facing is not essentially from the raw dump, but from the plastic that covers the yard. The fire is actually getting bigger at the exact spot where these covers have been used and the entire dump yard is covered with sheets, which is not advisable at all,” he told The Indian Express.
Sarode said in February this year, they had advised the local corporation to start mass segregation at the site, which, he claims the authorities never acted on.
“We also specifically spoke of areas which are prone to fire and the idea of not using these plastic sheets. None( suggestions) have been utilised,” he said.
Raikar too agreed that the fire could be a signal to a larger problem in the coming months.
“The only respite is in a week, monsoons are here. We are estimating and have already told the authorities that this will require at least six days of heavy, non-stop rain to douse the fire,” he added.
On Thursday, the Goa State Pollution Control Board also issued show cause notice to the local municipal authority asking them to explain the efforts taken till date.
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