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| Last Updated:: 19/04/2016

Ghazipur landfill fire spews toxic smoke

 Ghazipur landfill fire spews toxic smoke

Abhijay Jha | TNN | Apr 8, 2016, 06.20 AM IST
Ghaziabad: Parts of the giant pile of trash at the Ghazipur landfill site have been on fire for the last couple of weeks, sending spirals of toxic smoke continuously into the air near the Delhi-UP border.

On Thursday morning, fresh smoke enveloped the landfill site, which was visible from a distance. Pollutants being discharged from the site as a result of the fire pose a grave health risk to residents of Kaushambi and Vaishali in Ghaziabad and Mayur Vihar in Delhi.

But the authorities seem to have turned a blind eye to the hazard.

"I can see the fire at the Ghazipur landfill site from the terrace of my house. It is frightening as it is posing a major health hazard to all residents in the area and authorities are yet to douse the flames," said Rajeev Ranjan Raj, a resident of Semmant Vihar in Kaushambi, which is just a kilometre away from the landfill site.

"We are in a midst of a raging debate on air pollution and all sorts of impractical measures are being taken to check air pollution. Yet due to reasons unknown such large-scale air pollution is going unnoticed," said Balendu Shekhar, another resident who lives in Mahalaxmi Tower in Kaushambi.
Abhishek Jha, who shifted to Vaishali just six months ago, said his six-year-old son has been suffering due to the smoke from the site. "He has been complaining of irritation in eyes and nose, and it is not all far fetched to say that toxic fumes emanating from the landfill site might be reason behind this," he said.
Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director of Centre for Science and Environment confirmed Jha's worst fear. "Whenever there is a such a largescale burning of waste, there is an exponential rise in carbon dioxide and methane in the air and many other harmful pollutants, which causes coughing, irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headache, nausea, and breathing difficulties," said Roychowdhury.
Piled up waste degenerates into methane gas which is highly inflammable and sometimes fire gets started due to chemical reaction or sometimes rag pickers sets it on fire on purpose," she added.
Vinay Kumar Mittal, president of Kaushambi Apartments Residents Welfare Association, who has filed a petition in the National Green Tribunal on the issue of air pollution, said, "We are aware of the fire at the Ghazipur landfill site and air pollution it is adding up to. It has been brought to the notice of the NGT-appointed expert committee that will be visiting the site on Friday."