To reduce fires at Ghazipur landfill in East Delhi and for their early detection, Delhi Municipality is planning to install new surveillance system by placing additional CCTV cameras in vulnerable places and hotspots of methane generation where fires break out frequently.
The civic body has issued a call for tenders from private vendors to install and operate the camera surveillance system. The system’s live feed will be made available to sanitation department officials, a company official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
There are currently 17 cameras on 70 acres of the landfill, and the municipality plans to install another 20 CCTV cameras in critical areas of the landfill.
The civic body plans to install cameras at the fresh waste dumps, trommels (which separate the waste), machinery, weighbridge, goat market, canal side, slaughterhouse, from the outskirts of the waste-to-energy plant and from the side of the Gazipur dairy. The company will install 30m high poles to mount the cameras.
“We plan to install night vision cameras which can be operational in all weathers and the recording images will be kept for at least four days. We need 20 more cameras,” said another official, seeking anonymity. The monitoring office will be located in the engineering room at the landfill.
The Ghazipur landfill has seen several major fires this year on March 28 and April 9 and 20. The former East Delhi Municipal Corporation planned to build a perimeter wall to improve security, but the cost of the project was estimated ₹25 crore, which the cash-strapped agency could not afford.
An improved monitoring system can prevent fires started by waste pickers and would aid in the early detection of fires caused by methane generation from waste decomposition, officials said.
The civic body should first develop material recovery centers near the landfill where waste can be sorted, according to Jai Prakash Chaudhary, secretary of Safai Sena, an organization of waste collectors.
“MCD can develop material recovery centers where waste pickers can help them sort waste, while feeding their families. No one wants to voluntarily go over a landfill,” he said.
Spread over 70 acres, the Gazipur landfill was established in 1984 and should have been closed in 2002. A section of the oversaturated landfill collapsed in September 2017, killing two people.
Delhi’s three landfills are well past their expiration date. Each year, they witness several incidents of massive fires. In the long term, the municipal body has been advised by a committee of experts to set up watchtowers to monitor any unauthorized entry and to deploy temperature sensors for early detection of fires.