Nagpur: Even as the smoke over the recent fire incident in Bhandewadi was yet to settle, yet another major fire has engulfed the major stretch of the dumping yard. Sources said the flames are mightier that the previous occasion.
Workers at the site informed that the fire was simmering for the last few days and started raging on Monday morning with severe intensity. The thick layer of smoke emanating from the yard enveloped areas as far as 2-3 kilometres – affecting nearby schools, residential areas and slums. The domes of the Swaminarayan temple were barely visible till late afternoon.
In the morning, angry residents blocked several trucks which were bringing in fresh garbage to be dumped. They were upset over the pollution caused by the repeated fires.
Cops from Nandanvan police station reached the spot to take control of the situation. It took more than an hour for the people to disperse.
In the last fire that broke out on March 21, around 30 windrows of solid waste created for bio-composting were destroyed. This time, 200 windrows spread over an area of 6-7 acres caught fire, informed the field staffers. According to Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) officials, 1 windrow holds 400 metric tonne of municipal solid waste. Going by the calculations, a sizeable part of the 80,000 metric tonne of garbage is likely to be burned.
The exact cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. The workers said the fire could have started again because the earlier one must not have completely extinguished.
One of the workers, who has been posted at the spot for over 20 years now, said this was the biggest fire he has seen so far. “The windrows have to be kept dry as per expert advice. But, in the summer, this is dangerous as there are more chances of the fire spreading even if a small plastic catches fire,” he said.
After spotting flames billowing from the windrows, the officials alerted NMC’s fire and emergency services department which deployed six fire tenders at the spot. In the evening, another three tenders were sent. Following the suggestions of NGO Green Vigil Foundation, treated sewage from the NMC’s Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) at Bhandewadi is being used to douse the fire.
Apart from this, heaps of soil were also dumped on the windrows to extinguish the fire.
The fire has spiked the already high air pollution. After the last fire, NMC had reportedly ramped up the security at the dumping yard to avoid entry of ragpickers who often set fire to burn waste and collect valuable items.