Pollution in Delhi has been very poor for the past many days. Other metro cities have fared much better than Delhi when it comes to Air Quality Index. However, Kolkata’s Adarsh Nagar is one exception where residents have been dealing with severe pollution for over a decade.
Residents of Adarsh Nagar, on Kolkata’s northern fringe off Belghoria Expressway, have been suffering from various problems due to a garbage dump in the area.
For more than 10 years, 10,000 residents of the area have been suffering from round-the-year pollution from a garbage dump that used to emit a stench. The situation is worse now as the dump now is either self-igniting or being set on fire and billowing out toxic smoke.
An elderly resident called the place “unfit for living” and said he developed heart problems from the toxic air.
Other residents have complained of skin diseases and doctors have advised them to move home.
West Bengal has promised to build a biogas plant to treat the waste
The garbage dump has been around for 50 years, spread over 20 acres and used by five different municipalities: Dum Dum, South Dum Dum, North Dum Dum, Baranagar and New Barrackpore.
An NGO called Green Nagarik took on the issue and appealed to all the civic bodies to address the problem. They also approached the pollution control board but in vain.
Finally, in 2016 they went to the National Green Tribunal, Eastern Zone. In its order of May 2017, the Green Court was critical of the government for “serious laxity in implementation of the existing rules and (falling) well short of the expected diligence”.
The state has promised to build a biogas plant to treat the waste. The construction of the plant is in its initial stages and likely to miss the deadline of completion by December 2018.
The government also built a wall on one side of the garbage dump so that it is blocked from public passing through the Expressway.
People have said that although the wall blocks the view of the dump, it does not solve the problem of the toxic air.