Two months on, environment ministry directs closure of Deonar dumping ground

Over two months after a major fire at the Deonar dumping ground in Mumbai, the central government has directed the city's civic to close the dumping area, according to a report by The Times of India.

This was at a meeting of the union environment minister Prakash Javadekar with a civic body team led by commissioner Ajoy Mehta. After the meeting, Javadekar tweeted-

On Tuesday, Javadekar said that the matter had been taken up seriously and following discussions with Maharashtra officials and Mumbai Municipal Corporation, strict action, if required, will be taken under the Environment Protection Act against violators.

"It is a serious lapse and we have taken it very seriously. We will issue, if required, necessary orders under Section 5 of Environment Protection Act. This means strict action. We will issue directions. They have to comply with it," Javadekar said.

Asked about reports hinting that the fire was a 'sabotage', he said that all such aspects would be discussed during the meeting and action will be taken accordingly.

The Environment Ministry had earlier constituted a two-member team to probe the fire.

Air quality in several parts of Mumbai had oscillated between 'poor' and 'very poor' in the wake of the fire. According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the average level of fine respirable pollutants PM 2.5 fell in the 'poor' category in Mumbai recently.

A six-month old boy had also died in a locality near Deonar dumping ground with the parents saying he died of suffocation due to emission of toxic gases from the blaze, a charge which had been refuted by officials.

Reports said that even as cooling operations continue at the dumping ground, residents in the area and policemen deployed at the site are facing health issues due to the smoke still emanating out of the dump.

Congress had staged a road blockade recently near the Deonar dumping ground and demanded that it be shifted to Taloja in Navi Mumbai.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Mar 31, 2016 14:03:24 IST