The first time I came to Delhi, precisely while crossing East Delhi, my friend excitedly told me to look out of the car window. Amused by his eagerness, I expected to see something glorious. Instead, I was greeted by Ghazipur landfill! The first reaction was that of disgust but then it dawned upon me that the landfill looks like a small hill. Judging my expression, my friend animatedly announced, you are looking at one of the largest garbage dumps in India.
Not just that, he provided me with a trivia that certainly made my jaw drop. What? Well, he sarcastically said that this place can be the next ‘historical site’ as it is just 8 meters shy of matching the height of famous Qutub Minar. With widened eyes, I kept looking still unsure whether to be amazed at this ‘marvelous’ human creation or to be ashamed of it.
Surely being from Kolkata, I am well-acquainted with the famous Dhapa dumping ground. But, what kept me in awe about Ghazipur landfill is its sheer size. Later I came to know that it is about 65 meters high. Guess what! It’s just 8 meters shorter than Qutub Minar that stands tall at 73 meters. This 70 acres landfill is way taller than the prescribed limit that is 20 meters. Kudos to us that we have managed to create such a ‘wonder’!
Jokes apart, on a daily basis about 9,000 Metric tonnes of waste are dumped in that place. Started in 1984, this landfill is dumped with much more waste than it is capable of accommodating. It was a tragedy waiting to happen which certainly became a reality when the mountain of thrash collapsed in 2017 killing two people. A place that should have been closed about 15 years ago still operates because of the failure of the administration to find an alternative.
However, let’s not put all the blame on Ghazipur landfill as there are other places across the country that can proudly boast about their presence on the list of largest garbage dumps in India.
1. Dhapa, Kolkata
Let me introduce you to this dumping ground located in Kolkata. Divided into four sectors, this place receives about 2,500 tonnes of waste per day. Since 1980 it has been functional, it won’t be wrong to say that the nearby areas are major victims of air and noise pollutions. However, there is also something else that has plagued this dumping ground beside the reluctant waste management procedures. It has become the money minting grounds for local mafias. Wondering how? Well, 40% of green vegetables in Kolkata markets come from this place owing to the practice of ‘garbage farming’.
2. Deonar, Mumbai
Guess how much waste is generated every year in Mumbai? No idea? Well, let me give you a little jolt. The amount is 2.7 million tonnes! This dumping ground extends over 132 hectares that receive 5,500 metric tonnes of waste daily excluding the 600 metric tonnes of silt and 25 tonnes of bio-medical waste. From causing health issues to the nearby residents to the occurrence of recurrent fires, this is a place that is far from being safe. Even, the thick smoke from two massive fires in 2016 were captured by NASA satellites. Owing to this place, the infant mortality rate in the nearby areas is also very high. Yet, what the city authorities are doing? Adding on more waste to the place to turn it into a ticking time bomb!
3. Perungudi and Kodungaiyur, Chennai
As high as a two-story building, these are the hang out places for Chennai’s garbage. Causing distress not only to the nose but eyes too, these places accommodates half of the city’s waste each day. Started in 1988, these places are dangerously close to their capacities. However, Solid Waste Management of TNM is not very accepting about this disaster in making.
4. Jawaharnagar, Hyderabad
With 5,000 tonnes of garbage getting dumped in 100-acres of land daily, this place is a worthy inclusion in our list of largest garbage dumps in India. This island of dumps is surrounded by black oily water. Despite officials saying that the toxic elements from the garbage and water are treated, locals often complain of contamination in the groundwater. Even the nearby lakes started turning black, thanks to this dumping ground.
5. Mavallipura, Bangalore
The favorite poster child of pollution after Delhi, this place also has a man-made ‘wonder’ to offer. Spread over almost 100 acres of land, this place has over lakhs of tonnes of garbage rotting and spreading pollution. Despite Bangalore being a hi-tech city, the amount of focus invested on resolving this issue is really pathetic. Not to forget, the poor management has turned it into a threat for the nearby 12 villages.
There is no denying the fact that treatment of waste or garbage is an essential issue that needs to be approached in a planned and scientific way. The unchecked growth of these places is certainly not good news! Do you stay near any of these largest garbage dumps in India?