The recent heavy rains have turned the massive garbage pile in the Bellahalli landfill into a soggy pulp that could pose serious health risks to adjacent villages and garbage handlers.
Rainwater failed to penetrate untreated mounds of solid waste that packs the landfill to the brim, reducing the top layer into a mush. The worsening condition has triggered panic of a possible epidemic, putting the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike in a spot of bother.
In the past four years, the BBMP has spent several crores on maintaining the abandoned landfill from the state grants for infrastructure development to no great avail. The excess rains turned the top soil around the quarry slushy, making travel on the roads linking the landfill more challenging.
"The landfill is completely flooded," said Ramappa Gowda, who resides in the nearby village. "The leachate has badly affected our lives. Now, the landfill containing untreated garbage dumped over the past three years can harm our health. The BBMP, which promised to develop the village, has no clue about what we go through."
A garbage contractor, who did not wish to be identified, said the landfill is a clear case of negligence. "The BBMP isn't able to provide the basic infrastructure for the villages, despite spending thousands of crores. The landfill's condition has worsened to such an extent after rains that entering the place would be harmful to our health," he said.
If the garbage lying along the roadside could pose a serious health risk for the public, tippers and garbage handlers entering the place where tonnes of waste rot in the rainwater are facing an even greater danger, the contractor said.
Sarfaraz Khan, BBMP's Joint Commissioner of SWM, admitted to DH that the landfill has become messy in the recent rains. "But I don’t think there’d be health risks,” he said. “I had asked my officials to cover the landfill with quarry stones by Tuesday evening to prevent any inconveniences."
While the city households generate nearly 4,500 tonnes of mixed waste a day, the BBMP engages 600 trucks to dump 2,500 tonnes of waste at the Bellahalli landfill.