The Brihamnmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) move of seeking permission from Airport Authority of India (AAI) to raise height of Deonar dumping ground has not gone down well with Chembur residents, who now plan to request the AAI to disapprove the corporation’s demand.
Following the BMC’s last month request seeking the AAI permission to increase the ground’s height to around 164 ft from 114 ft, residents claim the move will not only aid in spreading more debris over the suburb, but will also put garbage in way of the flights landing or taking off from the city.
Already hassled by improper disposal of garbage posing health risks for residents living around the dumping ground, Rajkumar Sharma, chief of advanced locality management and networking action committee (Almanac) — a citizens’ forum — stressed, “Now, the corporation wants to increase the heap’s height to that of a 16-storey building. No Chembur building is that tall, I guess. Apart from leading to more air pollution, and thereby more health hazards for residents, the decision will cause the heap to come in way of the flights.” The BMC, which is supposed to dump 2,000 tonnes of garbage at the ground daily, is actually throwing in 5,550-6,000 tonnes of waste daily, he claimed.
Expressing solidarity against the BMC demand, Vijay Sangole, joint secretary of Pestom Sagar Citizens’ Forum, said, “It’s high time the corporation begins looking for some other dumping site.”
Health experts too pointed to health risks for people living in proximity of the ground. “Breathing stinking air continuously can harm lungs, apart from driving asthma patients to the edge.
Besides, skin irritation will be a persistent issue,” a senior scientist with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), said wishing not to be named.
However, BMC officials maintained that the raising of the heap’s height is being done in public good, given the space crunch to dump city waste. “The demand made with the AAI is about allowing us to pile up garbage on a 65-hectare chunk of the dumping ground (132 hectares in size),” additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani said.