New Delhi, the city that the United Nations has officially labelled as 'the most polluted city in the world' has a historic monument in its midst, the Ghazipur landfill. You may have crossed this heap of garbage on your way to work or on a road trip as you left the city but never quite paid much attention to it. This landfill is visible from 5kms away at 213 feet (65 metres) high and at its current rate of growth, it will soon surpass the height of the Taj Mahal, which stands at 73 metres high.
The Supreme Court warned the government last year that they may have to put a red warning light on top of the landfill to alert passing jets. When the landfill began accumulated in 1984, no one had suspected this outcome, but it soon reached its capacity by 2002. This is when the landfill should have been closed, however, the truckload of garbage didn't stop.
“About 2,000 tonnes of garbage is dumped at Ghazipur each day,” a Delhi municipal official told a newspaper. During the rains in the city, two people were killed when a section of the hill collapsed on them, in 2018. Post the incident, the government banned dumping in the premises, but no action was taken and it continued a few days later when the authorities couldn't find an alternative.
“It all needs to be stopped as the continuous dumping has severely polluted the air and groundwater,” Chitra Mukherjee, head of Chintan, an environmental advocacy group told a leading newspaper. From fires breaking out due to the methane gas in the dump to Leachate, a black toxic liquid oozing out of the mountain, the damage caused by this landfill is vicious.
The smell around the landfill is making it impossible for people to inhabit the area surrounding it. A recent study said that living 5kms around the landfill is a health hazard and will leave you vulnerable to various deadly diseases, including cancer. A local doctor, Kumud Gupta told a newspaper that she sees about 70 patients every day, including babies, suffering from respiratory and stomach ailments caused by polluted air.
Source: Hindustan Times
What's worse? These landfills aren't going to reduce in the near future. The country over 62 million tonnes of waste annually, and according to the government figures, it will rise to 165 million tonnes by 2030.
One day before World Environment Day, the news of India's waste problem has surfaced. While the Modi Government has launched a Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the Supreme Court has constantly accused Delhi's authorities of not taking India's waste problem seriously.
Are you doing your part in reducing the waste you produce?
Featured Image: Al Jazeera
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