Ghazipur garbage mountain collapse kills 2, authorities pass the buck
The garbage mountain of 50 metre in East Delhi's Ghazipur collapsed on Friday afternoon because of heavy rains, killing 2, injuring 5 and sweeping away several vehicles from the adjacent road.
The mountain of trash came crashing down into the Hindone Canal. The water from the canal then washed away the vehicles into the adjoining canal. The collapse also destroyed 14 street lights. Eye witnesses recalled the horror of the incident when they heard a roaring sound and thought that there was an explosion.
Following the collapse, the NDRF reached the spot and rescues operations were started, 26 fire tenders were rushed to the spot, around four dumpers were used to clean the debris, and two cranes to pull out the vehicles. The operations went on until 8:30 in the evening.
Could the disaster have been averted?
As soon as questions were raised on the cause of the disaster and it could have been averted, authorities started passing the buck.
The Ghazipur landfill was commissioned in 1984, started overflowing from 2002, and had been working without certification since 2006 - which only makes the negligence of the local authorities more evident and perhaps responsible for the deaths caused by the collapse.
Denying responsibility for the disaster, reportedly, the EDMC - in charge of the Gahazipur landfill's management, said that they had been asking for land for the last 15 years. The DDA, Delhi's prime land owning agency also denied that blame and added that land had been offered, but was rejected by environmentalists, courts or residents. A land at Ghonda Gujral in Wazirabad has now been offered by the DDA.
The Delhi pollution watchdog, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee - pointed out at the various notices which were issued to EDMC, including one in November 2016, which had been ignored.
The above revelations by the various departments and authorities made it absolutely clear that fatal collapse could have been avoided.
What is alarming is that Delhi produces over 8500 MTD of solid waste, but all three of the dumping grounds in the city have capacity of 4,600 MTD, and are basically operating at the risk of human lives.
The other two dumping grounds at Bhalaswa and Okhla were neither designed according to the Municipal Solid Waste Rules, nor are they authorised by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC).