“Garbage Mountains” India Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised that they would soon be replaced by waste treatment plants. Samia Roy * writes to the BBC, the oldest of which is the height of an 18-storey building in the west coast city of Mumbai.
Every morning Farha Sheikh stood on top of a century-old garbage dump in Mumbai and waited for garbage trucks to arrive.
The 19-year-old had been running in this suburban Dionysus landscape for as long as she could remember.
He usually recovers plastic, glass and wire bottles from viscous waste, and then he sells them at the city’s affluent waste markets.
But most of all Look for broken cell phones.
Every few weeks Farha finds a “dead” cell phone in the trash and fixes it with her meager storage.
Once he is alive, he spends the afternoon watching movies, playing video games, texting and inviting friends.
When the device stops working again after days or weeks, Farha’s contact with the outside world fades.
Then he goes back through the garbage for long days and goes to sell bottles and retrieve cell phones.
More than 16 million tons of waste They form the Theonar Garbage Hill, spread over an area of eight 121 hectares.
The waste is piled up to a height of 36.5 meters.
As you can see from the top of the ocean and the garbage cans are built on solid debris.
Harmful and polluting gases
Decomposition of waste releases harmful gases such as methane, hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide.
And in 2016 it burned for months, filling most of Mumbai with smoke.
According to a 2011 study by India’s Pollution Control, other similar fires contribute 11% of particles, making it one of the main causes of air pollution in Mumbai.
Surrounding neighbors are fighting in court For 26 years, demanding closure From the Theonar landscape.
But that garbage mountain country is no exception. Inquiry conducted by the Center for Science and the Environment (CSE) in 2020, a Thought tank An independent company based in New Delhi found that 3,159 hills across India contain 800 million tonnes of garbage.
These have been a headache for officials and politicians for years.
On October 1, Modi announced a nearly $ 13 billion “national cleanup program” that would include a series of installations. Sewage treatment plants will gradually convert outdoor waste Like Dionysus.
But experts are skeptical.
“Even if it is achieved in small towns, it is difficult to provide a solution for waste mountains of this magnitude,” says CSE Deputy Director Project Director.
“It has been acknowledged that this is a problem, but we’re accepted that if we were to live in big cities like Bombay or New Delhi, these mountains of rubbish would be there,” says Dharmesh Shah, the country’s co-ordinator of the Global Coalition for Coalition Alternatives.
Since 2000, India has enacted rules forcing municipalities to process waste.
But most states report only partial compliance There are not enough waste treatment plants.
Mumbai, India’s entertainment and business capital and home to about 20 million people, has only one such plant.
It is now planned to set up a plant to convert waste into energy in Theonar.
Modi said he hoped the project would create new green jobs. But it also worries collectors like Farha, who have dedicated their lives to it.
Since the 2016 fire, access to the Deonar garbage hill has become much harder.
City Increased security To prevent collectors from entering the fire: Flames melt lighter debris and expose the metal being sold at a higher price.
Although some bribe guards or security guards enter the area at dawn when security patrols begin, ambush collectors are often beaten, detained and evicted.
But that’s not the only reason Dionysus ’garbage collectors saw their lifestyle. Now most of the waste section is done in the city.
As a result, Farha has not had a phone call for months. In addition, the guards are forced to pay at least 50 rupees (US $ 0.67) every day to enter and work at Deonar Stadium.
Even to get this back Govt began searching for debris from hospital wards where 19 patients were being treated Last year.
But his family asked him not to collect “harmful” waste.
So now he’s sticking around, looking at pickers wearing safety gear to pick up plastic in the rain for resale.
The city sends new garbage, and for many years, the mountains have to accommodate it and collectors have to collect and resell it.
“Hunger will kill us if disease doesn’t kill us,” Farha says.
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