CHENNAI: A fire that broke out in the Greater Chennai Corporation’s dump yard at Kodungaiyur on Monday left the area heavily polluted. The fire was first noticed around 9 am. “Bu it was not contained even at 11 am, filling the entire place with smoke,” said A Ganesan, a local who added that such fires were common in Kodungaiyur in summers.At least 19 different toxic compounds were detected in the air in the neighbouring residential areas during a similar fire that occurred in 2012, according to a study conducted by the Community Environmental Monitoring and Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternative.
“We left our homes this morning to stay with our relatives. It is not just the unbearable smell. The chemicals in the smoke make our eyes burn,” said Sharon Paul, a daily wage labourer who lives in the neighbourhood.The Fire Department, however, said it was unaware of the fire when Express called the control room around 4 pm. An official from the department said it was the Corporation’s responsibility to douse fire in the dump yard.
An official from the Solid Waste Management Department of the Corporation told Express that the fire was doused by noon. “We used water from two lorries and 12 in-situ sintex tanks inside,” the official said.
Fire at the dump yard has become a common incident around summer, year after year. Trapped flammable toxic gases and debris in the dump yard quickly catch fire in the heat and the fire spreads quickly through the dump yard, particularly on windy days. Segregation of solid waste at source will prevent accumulation of large quantities in one location, thus reducing chances of such fires.