In Ghazipur, the landfill spread over 27 acres is 32 years old. In 2017, people two people died after they were buried under a large chunk of garbage here. This occurred 17 years after the landfill was found to be unsafe and 11 years after it lost its license. The landfill had reached its saturation level in 2002 and yet, it receives 2000 tonnes of waste daily. It is now 65 metres high and is just 8 metres short of the Qutab Minar. Over 100 trucks and 30 loaders ferry waste on the dumpsite in three shifts daily.
For the Bhalswa landfill, which was commissioned in 1994, the mountain is spread over 40 acres and is 45 metres high. It had reached its saturation point in 2006. But still receives about 2,700 tonnes of garbage each day. In 2016, the 40-acre Bhalswa landfill was ablaze for a week.
In Okhla, East Delhi, the landfill was commissioned in 1996 and started overflowing by 2004. The 55-meter tall cliff is spread over 45 acres. It still receives 1700 tonnes of garbage.
Delhi produces over 10,000 tonnes of waste every day – which is more than the weight of the Eiffel Tower.
For years now, Delhi has tried to find another landfill site. But with limited land, it is unlikely that they will succeed.
The solution thus lies in segregating waste into biodegradable, dry waste and domestic hazardous waste, a model which was successfully implemented in Alappuzha Kerala, Panaji Goa, Mysuru Karnataka. 50 per cent of all of Delhi's waste can be composted and 25 per cent can be recycled. But this can only be achieved if we begin to segregate.