There have been 76 fire calls from the three landfill sites in Delhi in four years, according to data submitted by the Delhi Fire Services to a joint committee constituted by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) earlier this year to suggest further course of action for the Ghazipur landfill.
The Bhalswa and Ghazipur landfills have seen three fire calls each till April 30 this year, while there were two such calls from the landfill at Tughlaqabad. There were 12 such fire calls from Bhalswa and four from Ghazipur last year. These fires are mostly seen in the summer and tend to last for days.
The DFS report notes that fires deep below the landfill surface involve materials that are months or years old, and that they are more difficult to extinguish than surface fires. It recommends setting up underground water tanks and pumps at these landfill sites.
An interim progress report submitted by the joint committee to the NGT notes that the existing waste-to-energy plant at Ghazipur was shut for about six months and resumed functioning only in May, that too not at full capacity. More waste ends up at the landfill site when the processing facilities don’t run at full capacity.
The committee is headed by Justice S P Garg, former judge of the Delhi High Court, and comprises members from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi Disaster Management Authority and representatives of the Delhi Police and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
The committee has noted that “more waste-to-energy plants are required to be established within the jurisdiction of the MCD” to process the waste dumped at the site. “Immediate steps are required to set up additional waste-to-energy plants at proper locations,” according to the committee’s report submitted to the NGT.