With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the pollution levels have seen a significant increase in Dadumajra, Chandigarh. The fire at the dumping ground at Dadumajra produced a lot of smoke and harmful gases in the atmosphere due to which the air quality index has been drastically disrupted. The entire area has been engulfed by an envelope of smoke and dust leading to various difficulties in breathing. Even after the fire has been taken under control, the sickness of the residents continues. With the pandemic going on, the COVID-19 fear is stopping the residents to make a call for going to the hospital.
It was claimed by the officials of the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee that there is a decrease in the level of air quality from satisfactory to moderate. According to Dyal Krishan, the chairman of the Joint Action Committee of Dadumajra, the residents complained about various problems in breathing, congestion in the lungs as well as sore throat and eye irritation, the night before. They refused to go to the hospital because of the fear of pandemic.
He also shed some light on the unique fire that took place with extraordinary flames and fumes of hazardous chemicals and substance being burnt instantly like a dangerous nuclear blast.
The convener of City Forum of Residents Welfare Organization, Vinod Vashisht, after visiting the committee, blamed the incident on MC, claiming that the solid waste processing system has suffered since the take-over of the plant by MC from the Jaypee group in June 2020. He also threw light on the fact that various processes like solid incineration which require very high temperatures are not taking place for the last six months and that the residents cannot get fresh air to breathe. Optimal capacity is required for better management of pollution control by the plants.
Various harmful chemicals like furan and dioxin are being dumped without the implementation of any waste processing system on them, thus posing a threat to humans. The corporation should ensure that only the non-recyclable inert substances finds their way towards the dumping area, that too after proper treatment while the biodegradable substances should be recycled to 100% capacity of the plants.
The chairman of the Federation Of Sectors Welfare Association Chandigarh, Baljinder Singh Bittu questioned how much time will it take for the government to act and for how long the residents would have to suffer. He claimed that he will be inviting another meeting with RWAs and other experts and even High Court and National Green Tribunal if needed.
The sufferings of the residents of the nearby sectors 14, 24, 25, 37, 38, 38W, 39, as well as the nearby areas, were brought into notice by Major DP Singh from Chandigarh Residents Association Welfare Federation. He signified the extent to which the residents were disturbed by such a fire hazard at the dumping site and these should be prevented for health and peace.
According to the former MOH of Chandigarh, Dr. P.S. Bhatti, the plant’s capacity is associated with the processing of only 50 MT of MSW, and the rest 550 MT from 26 wards of Chandigarh are dumped in the ground without any processing. The production of methane gas from the unprocessed waste is the real issue that causes dangerous fires. It is a real emergency issue for the residents of Dadumajra and the adjoining areas.