Living With Garbage: Delhi's Okhla Residents Raise a Stink, but Who's Listening?
The garbage dump is merely 10 steps away from the Al Shifa Hospital, a school, and fruit stalls.
Video Producer: Verda Subzwari
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
The garbage dumpsite located in southeast Delhi's Abul Fazal Enclave in Okhla has been a burning issue for locals for years now. The garbage dump is merely 10 steps away from Al Shifa Hospital, a school, and fruit stalls, which are extremely sensitive spots.
Arshad Ali, a commercial vehicle driver, said, "One whole side of the road has been blocked because of the amount of garbage that gets accumulated here, and the one functional side of the road creates a lot of problems for commuters, causing traffic jams."
The garbage dump does not get lifted regularly because of this; the dump piles up on the roads for several days, which is a growing concern for the local residents. "Garbage pickers also dump everything here, where else would they go? It’s been a while since anyone picked up this garbage, so the dump looks like this," a garbage picker of Compost Center, Shram Vihar, says.
I spoke to the manager of Milli Model School, which is right in front of the garbage dump. "At times, when the stench gets too much, it travels all the way to the school. If we keep getting these smells on regular basis, it's obvious that it's going to hurt us both mentally and physically," Dr Mohammed Ibrahim said.
This disposable site is a growing cause of concern because it poses a serious health threat to the locals. "People living in this area are endangered due to the widespread diseases that can be caused due to contamination, mainly gastritis, ill digestion, and so on. Because of the rainy weather, I have come across many cases of dengue and malaria outbreaks," says Dr Faraz, MD, Al Shifa Hospital.
He added that multiple cases of Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B were reported in Al Shifa recently, which he feels is due to the unhygienic environment surrounding Al Shifa Hospital.
The situation in a nearby area, Okhla Vihar, is no different. A resident of Okhla Vihar said, "The other day, there was a fight here because of a car accident caused by the garbage on the road, there was glass everywhere. There is no talk of cleaning the dump that has been collecting here since way before Bakrid."
Residents Get to Work
Several complaints have been filed with the SDMC on the same issue but there has been little to no action on their part. Residents, along with NGOs, are doing their bit to clean the areas.
Mohammad Faisal Imaam, Founder of Taleem Institute, said, "We acquired a small area, and with the help of CII Foundation, we have set up a compost plant, which is currently working. Today, we have collected around 500 kg of wet waste from the garbage site and turned them into compost."
Locals hope that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) comes up with a solution, which will make their lives easier. "We request the authorities to clean the area so that all of us would be happy. It would be convenient for all of us. I hope this will be resolved soon," said Dr Mohammed Ibrahim.
(The Quint has reached out to MCD’s Director (Press and Information). Their response is awaited. The story will be updated once their response is received.)
(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)
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