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Velachery bears brunt of Perungudi landfill fire

Birds from the Pallikaranai marsh affected; corporation hopes to douse fire today; methane emission likely cause

Published: 28th April 2022 07:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th April 2022 07:33 AM   |  A+A-

Fire blazing at Perungudi dumping yard on Wednesday | Martin Louis

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: A fire broke out at the Perungudi landfill on Wednesday evening. Apartments in 3-4 km radius were enveloped in thick smoke and birds from the Pallikaranai marsh were impacted. Authorities said the situation is under control and hope to douse the fire by Thursday.

Corporation officials said the cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained since they were focussed on dousing the fire. “It may be due to the emission of methane from the landfills, which is inflammable. We haven’t gotten into that in detail since we are working towards putting it out first,” said a corporation official.

With help from Metro Water, eight fire tenders were used by Wednesday evening and three more have been called. While the landfills at both Kodungaiyur and Perungudi are not exempt from minor fires during the summer, this recent one is bigger and will has a larger impact.

Yuvan M, who resides in Baby Nagar, Velachery, about 2-3 km from the landfill said residents are affected by thick smoke and they were forced to close doors and windows. “To the west, we see more apartment complexes engulfed in smoke and we can see the orange glow of the fire. Birds from the marsh (Pallikaranai) like night herons seem to be disturbed and can be heard squawking,” he said. 

Methane gas, along with carbon dioxide, is produced by anaerobic bacteria in landfills and is generated as organic waste decomposes. Approximately 50% of gases emitted from the landfills is methane, which is highly inflammable. Recently, a landfill in Delhi caught fire, leaving smoke hanging over the city for days.
Fire officer from Thoraipakkam, M Ponnusamy, said the fire started in a 800-m area, but the risk of it spreading to nearby areas was high due to the sparks rising out of flames.

“We are spraying water in the nearby area so that the wetness will keep the flames from spreading to nearby areas. The fire will be doused before Thursday afternoon,” said Ponnusamy.



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