The 110 hectare Deonar dumping ground rises up to seven stories high, the dumping ground was opened in 1927 and accepted approximately 1,450,000 tonnes of waste in 2006. Currently, the site has approximately 9. 2 million tonnes of waste in place. Dr Neelam Rane, vice-president of Smoke Affected Residents Forum (SARF), said, “Until now, we were agitated because garbage from all over the city was dumped but now we find even bio-medical waste is being incinerated here. This is injustice. Why is the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) not finding an alternate site to dump the city’s garbage? ” As per an affidavit filed in the Bombay High Court, the BMC was to install a ‘Garbage Recycle Unit’ within a year. Even the police had promised to set up a chowky outside the Deonar dumping ground within a year following the high court order. Both promises were made 11 years ago and are yet to be fulfilled,” she explained. Girish Deshpande, who sold his apartment near Deonar and bought one near Ambedkar Garden at Chembur at a much higher price. “I lost my father due to lung problems caused by polluted air from the dumping ground. My mother was suffering from acute asthma while we were stayed near the dumping ground.
She is feeling better since we shifted. I do not want to take any more risk. I will support this campaign till it reaches a logical end,” says Deshpande. A 11-month-old boy diagnosed as Mumbai’s first confirmed polio case of 2008 in April, in Govandi, where the winding alleys reek of the 110-hectare Deonar garbage dump next-door. In 2005, Infant Mortality Rate in Govandi was 60. 8 per 1000 live births while the average for Mumbai is 35. 12 per 1000. In the past year, health posts in Govandi registered 1629 TB patients, while asthma, skin diseases and malaria is common here as well.
The Solid waste department had proposed to take up the Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project (MSDP) which was to be completed in the year 2003, with loan of US $240 million from the World Bank but no progress was made in that effect. The Deonar Landfill is a controlled open dump owned and operated by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) that seeks specific cooperation to advance the development of a Bio Gas Project. Because of dumping of garbage without segregation, the bacteria present react with it which releases an estimated amount of 4,251 m3/hr of biogas, mostly containing methane.
Currently this gas combusts and creates fires and releases smoke and other pollutants into the air. This month the BMC came up with a rather ridiculous situation to control the stench in Deonar by spraying it with deodorant, the perfume costs US $114,000 for 42,000 litres, which is required to perfume the landfills for six to eight months. Currently even people who segregate their garbage are more than likely wasting their time, as its all combined together and dumped. As citizens our efforts go to waste until the government provides a method for segregating garbage, but lets take a look at our sewage.
In Mumbai we have the Methi river and other outlets that dump untreated sewage into the sea. Take a look at this map below, you can see the Black outlets of our sewage flowing into the sea, this is the same water that the fish live in that are caught and eaten by us. Recently thousands of fish were found dead in a fresh water lake that supplies water to Mumbai, yet there has been no reason provided as to how the fish died. Mumbai desperately needs a solution for its waste disposal, more importantly it needs citizens to stand up against a shoddy system that is on the verge of collapsing.