Welcome to Ghazipur Landfill, a place where fresh air and clean water is a distant dream. In the midst of this smell and dirt; pollution and toxicants; stink and congestion, residents of Mulla Colony echo the sentiments of injustice, misery, and suffocation. They talk in a spiral as to how the authorities have turned a deaf ear to the problems faced by the locals. The colony is adjacent to the dumping site.
Delhi has three main dumping grounds, namely, Ghazipur, Bhalswa, and Okhla. These three carry the burden of the garbage generated by the entire city. As more and more trucks dispose of their waste, the height of these landfills increases by a few centimeters every day. Operational since 1984, Ghazipur landfill is situated in East Delhi
What is a landfill?
A landfill is a pit that is dug out so that waste can be dumped into it, until; it is level with the ground. However, dumping sites does not seem to abide by this definition. While the permissible height of a garbage dump is 20 meters, Ghazipur Landfill had already crossed this limit back in 2002. At present, it is as high as 60 meters and waste continues to be poured down in the region. Lack of any alternative dumping site has given rise to this multistory building of garbage.
In September 2017, this mountain of garbage came crashing down and claimed lives of 2 people. It pushed several vehicles off the road. The locals, however, claim that the facts have tampered and that the actual casualties were much more than those reported.
In October, the landfill caught fire and five fire extinguishers were rushed to the site. It was only after seven hours that the fire could be controlled. Fire and smoke is a usual affair on the dumping ground.
How does it pose a threat to the environment?
The liquid waste that contains toxicants seeps into the ground, not only polluting the land, but also tampering the groundwater with harmful toxicants. The situation becomes worse as rain arrives. Moreover, as waste degrades, it gets mixed with toxic chemicals, giving rise to toxic fumes that ultimately lead to air pollution.
The residents of the nearby colonies complain about several airborne diseases such as asthma and bronchitis.
What can we do?
The least that we can do is, segregate the waste into wet waste and dry waste. Kitchen waste and other biodegradable waste must be separated from chemical waste. This small act can bring about a noticeable change. Lastly, recycle and reuse your waste as it will help to reduce the amount of garbage being dumped in the area.
Waste Management in India is still considered to be a taboo. The need of the hour is to manage our waste before it chokes our cities.