Bengaluru: Fires break out from ground at garbage dumpyard

Experts say it could be because of formation of biogas in the garbage dump

Bengaluru: For villagers of Lakshmipura in Anekal who were used to garbage stench, contaminated water and leachate, it was a rather unusual scene when fire broke out from the ground on Monday morning. The villagers had complained against the rampant dumping of garbage at a stone quarry on the outskirts of Lakshmipura.

Though the BBMP had been dumping garbage there, what the villagers had not foreseen were the flames rising from the decomposed material. Experts say it could be because of formation of biogas in the garbage dump.

BBMP officials said that earlier, bubbles formed only at one point on the 7.5 acre quarry. The villagers covered the spot with mud and did not worry about its side-effects. But when the fire broke out around 10 am on Monday, the villagers were scared.

Bommanahalli Joint Commissioner Muniraju told Deccan Chronicle that the BBMP swung into action immediately and laid pipes 12 feet down to identify and to provide a vent for the gases. Biogas leakage was seen in about five places, he said.

“Men and machine were put into work soon after taking advises from the experts. Two earthmovers were brought to the location to air out the gas. We will later start red soil capping on the quarry and the entire 7.5 acres will be covered in about two feet of soil. Over the next five months, we will plant around 5,000 saplings,” Mr Muniraju explained.

An earthmover filling the holes in the quarry from where flames emanated at Lakshmipura off Bannerghatta Road in Bengaluru (Photo: DC)

He said that a notice was issued to AMC College of Engineering (off Bannerghatta Road), which was in the vicinity of the quarry, for directly letting sewage into the landfill.

“The college does not have a sewage treatment plant and because of the direct entry of sewage, the decomposed garbage started letting out gases,” he said. Meanwhile, it was not only the fire that caught the attention of people who gathered in Lakshmipura. Some migrant labourers in the village used the fire to cook food. They made chapathis, omelettes and even boiled water from the fire.

A well-known environmentalist said, “There is no immediate adverse effect from the fire. It is just a natural process which has led to the fire. However, since the quantity of biogas available and the number of places where the leakage is happening is not exactly known, it could be disastrous if there is some sort of an explosion. The local residents should be extremely careful.”

There are about 30 houses near the quarry, while over 1,100 houses are in Lakshmipura, which is around 2 km from the spot.

Bengaluru South MLA M. Krishnappa maintained that around 40,000 litres of leachate was pumped out from the quarry recently and the fire breakout has shocked everyone. “We have sprayed chemicals and airing out gases. The situation will be brought under control in a few days,” he said.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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