NEW DELHI: With an aim to prevent frequent fires at the landfill sites in the national capital, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has asked the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to not dump fresh municipal solid waste in the pockets of the dumpsites where bio-mining is being undertaken till the time emergency plans are prepared and implemented. The directions came following the April 26 fire at the Bhalaswa landfill site, which kept raging for over 10 days, said officials.
An order issued by the pollution watchdog to the MCD on June 10 said that the civic body must prepare an on-site/off-site emergency plan along with the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA). Fresh waste produces methane during decomposing. In hot and dry weather conditions, methane catches fire spontaneously and spreads fast, as it feeds on combustible materials like cloth, plastic, dry leaves and paper dumped at the landfill site.
The civic body has also been asked to engage agencies for the Wastesegregation of waste being dumped at the landfill site so that there is no unauthorised entry of ragpickers. The DPCC has directed the MCD that organic waste, such as that generated from slaughterhouses and fish markets, and industrial waste must not be dumped at the landfills directly.
Also, adequate compacting of waste should be done to minimise the formation of air or methane pockets, which can lead to sub-surface fire at the site. “Waste that is being unloaded must be examined visually for potential fire sources. Besides, emergency tipping area to be provided must be set aside from immediate working area where incoming loads of material known to be on fire can be inspected,” the order said.
It added that as an interim measure the MCD must install methane gas detectors so that pockets with high methane concentration can be identified and preventive action is undertaken. “Further temperature at windrows should be monitored and records maintained for major deviations,” the order read.