After the fire that broke out at Deonar dumping ground in Mumbai on Saturday, the air quality of the city has fallen to a rating of 'poor'.
A report in The Times of India said that according to real-time monitoring by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the overall air quality index (AQI) of Mumbai on Sunday evening was 245.
A 'poor' category AQI, of the range 201 to 300, is especially harmful for the elderly and children. The report added that Mumbai's AQI had gone from 'moderate' to 'poor' quality in a matter of just 10 days.
Another report in The Indian Express said that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been dumping debris on spots identified as sources of pocket fires in the Deonar dumping ground since last week, but even these efforts were not enough to prevent fresh fires.
Angry locals also alleged that the government had been too slow in taking measures to prevent fires at the dumping ground. "Here the government is saying that people should abstain from using water on Holi, but the BMC is wasting so many tankers of water, dousing fires which should have been dealt with by now. The BMC is taking too long to implement measures like constructing gas wells without which these fires won’t stop,” The Indian Express quoted Rajkumar Sharma, a member of the Diamond Garden Advanced Locality Management (ALM) in Chembur, as saying.
Fresh smoke was witnessed on Monday morning at the Deonar dumping ground, where the fire which has been raging for three days now intensified on Sunday evening even as people living in the vicinity complained of discomfort due to the fumes emanating from the site.
Eleven fire tenders and eight water tankers have been deployed at the dumpsite located in the eastern suburbs of the city, said officials of the disaster control unit of the BMC.
Even as cooling operations are underway at the Deonar dumping yard, toxic smoke engulfed Govandi's Shivaji Nagar, some parts of Mankhurd and Zakir Hussain Nagar and Baiganwadi area, causing discomfort to locals.
This is the second big blaze in the area in less than two months.
A massive fire had broken out at the dumping yard, spread over 326 acres, on 27 January, leading to a thick blanket of smog in various parts of Mumbai.
The BMC had been forced to shut down 74 schools run by it as smoke from the fire then engulfed the area, causing breathing problems.
The schools were located in the M-ward, where people are complaining about a foul smell due to the burning of garbage at the dumping ground.
Schools in M-ward, including those in Chembur, Deonar, Tilak Nagar, Pestom Sagar, Shivaji Nagar, Mankhurd and Baiganwadi, were closed for two days.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had ordered a probe into the fire and smog at Deonar by a panel headed by a senior IPS officer. He had also directed that the sabotage angle be investigated in connection with the fire.
With inputs from PTI