21 April 16. The Delhi government may file FIR against the North and East civic bodies for garbage burning at the Ghazipur and Bhalswa landfill sites amid concerns that the toxic fumes may offset any gains from the odd-even scheme.
East Delhi Municipal Corporation and North Delhi Municipal Corporation had been penalised by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) in February over fire at the landfill sites, which the corporations have refused to pay.
The DPCC in its notice to the MCDs, dated February 11, had slapped a fine of Rs 5,000 per day saying burning can occur only if there is an ignition initially provided "deliberately or negligently" by some one.
Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain visited the Bhalswa site today, where simmering fire have been reported for over a week now, and said that he has instructed the DPCC to file an FIR and impose fresh penalties on the MCDs.
"From now onward, 15 fire tenders will be deployed round-the-clock at the Bhalswa site," Hussain tweeted.
The city produces a staggering 8360 MTD (Metric Tonnes Daily) waste but the existing capacity of its all three landfill sites stands at 4660 MTD, all of which are operating beyond their saturation point, the Economic Survey report by the Delhi government had pointed out.
Bhalswa landfill site was commissioned in the year 1994, Ghazipur in 1984 and Okhla in 1996 and none of them are designed as per the Municipal Solid Waste Rules of 2000.
In its reply, the NDMC rejected the possibility of
any "mischief", saying preventive as well as remedial measures are regularly taken by the civic body to avoid incidents of fire or smouldering at the landfill site.
However, it added that since the site was not designed as an enginnered landfill, "it is prone" to environmental pollution including incidents of fire smouldering.
"The Bhalswa landfill was started in 1994 and at that poit of time the MSW rules were not in force. Therefore, the landfill was not designed as an engineered landfill site but merely a dump site," it said.
"It is pertinent to note that problem of landfill fire is not only being faced by India but also by developed countries such as USA. In USA, around 8,300 fire incidents are reported in a year and in the UK around 280 to 300 incidents are reported in a year," the reply said.
NDMC admitted that the capacity of the site stands exhausted and height of dumped garbage is increasing with the passage of time. "It is about 40 m high at present. Its excess height gives it exposure to open and flowing air and this enhances fire or smouldering.