School closed near Bhalswa landfill for a week due to smoke from massive fire
Gyan Sarovar School, a child resource centre for underprivileged children of rag-pickers living near the Bhalswa landfill site in north Delhi, has been closed for a week due to a massive fire in the area which has been raging for over 20 hours.Father Santhosh, Director of Deepti Foundation, which runs the school, told PTI that a thick layer of smoke has engulfed the area making it difficult for children to breathe.”There is a thick layer of hazardous smoke in the area making it difficult for children to breathe and the whole area is foggy and hence the visibility is low. The school has been closed for a week,” he said.
The fire broke out at the landfill site on Tuesday. The fire department received information about the blaze around 6 pm following which 10 fire tenders were rushed to the spot. Later, three more fire tenders were pressed into service.
According to fire officials, efforts are still on to douse the fire.Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Tuesday asked the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to submit a report on the fire that broke out at Bhalswa landfill within 24 hours.Several videos of the incident showed the blaze engulfing the mountain of garbage, sending a dense plume of smoke into the sky and exacerbating the already polluted air in nearby areas.The Ghazipur landfill has seen three such fires since March 28.
The wet waste dumped in a landfill produces methane when it rots. In hot weather conditions, methane catches fire spontaneously and the blaze spreads as it feeds on combustible material like textiles and plastics.
Asked about how does the school function in case of frequent fires, Father Santhosh said, “Usually, its on the other side of the landfill and not on the side where the school is situated. We do see smoke up in the air from a distance at times but it is never this unbearable”.Gyan Sarovar School, is an informal urban school designed specifically for the underprivileged children of rag-pickers living near the major waste dump-yard.The idea is to attract children and their parents into this facility and encourage them to realise the importance of education to improve their lifestyle.