On Saturday night, a major landslide at a 50-year-old massive garbage dump on the outskirts of Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa killed at least 46, while dozens of people are still missing.
According to Dagmawit Moges, head of the city's communications bureau, the landslide has buried more than 30 makeshift homes of squatters living inside the Koshe landfill on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. Most of the deceased were women and children, while more bodies are expected to be found.
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"We expect the number of victims to increase because the landslide covered a relatively large area," Moges said.
According to the Associated Press, resident Assefa Teklemahimanot said that there were almost 150 people at the site when the landslide occurred. While Addis Ababa Mayor Diriba Kuma said that 37 people had been rescued and were receiving medical treatment, Dagmawit added that two had received serious injuries.
While most of the people at the landfill had been scavenging items to make a living, others live at the site because renting homes there, which are largely built of mud and sticks, is relatively inexpensive.
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Reportedly, the landslide may have been the result of the resumption of garbage dumping at the site over the past few months. The dumping had stopped in the recent years, but was resumed after farmers in a nearby region, where a new garbage landfill complex was being built, objected to dumping in their area.
According to city officials, almost 300,000 tonnes of garbage are collected each year from the capital, most of which is dumped at the landfill.
While no such garbage landslides have been reported in India, with the massive generation of waste and rampant dumping at various landfills, India may also face such consequences soon.
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Here are a few of the largest garbage dumps in India:
- Deonar, Mumbai
Of the 60 million tons of waste that India generates every year, 2.7 million tons are generated by Mumbai City itself. From the 7,000 to 8,000 tons of waste, nearly 5,500 tons is deposited at the 326-acre Deonar landfill -- the largest and oldest in Mumbai as it was set up in 1927. The dumping ground, which bears the toll of the excessive garbage dumping that is more than its capacity of 2,000 ton per day, is 30 metres high and saw two massive fires in early 2016. The presence of 12.7 million tons of combustible methane was a catalyst to the fire and the pictures of the thick smoke were picked by NASA satellites.
- Ghazipur, Delhi
The Ghazipur landfill of east Delhi was started in 1984 making it the oldest functional landfill in the city. Spread across 70 acres, the landfill contains at least 12 million tonnes of waste. The landfill is now estimated to be at least 50 feet tall. Infact it tripled the limit of 15 feet in 2002 itself. But in the absence of an alternative site, the landfill continues to function as New Delhi generates about 9,000 to 9,200 tons of municipal solid waste daily.
- Dhapa, Kolkata
The Dhapa Landfill, which is spread across 50 hectares, has been functional since 1980. The landfill has a functional compost plant that can process 500 metric tonnes of waste a day. Disposal rate exceeds 3000 Million tonnes per day.
- Perungudi and Kodungaiyur, Chennai
Both Perungudi (228 acres) and Kodungaiyur (270 acres) are almost as tall as a two-storey building, but trucks still continue to bring in the city's unsegregated solid waste. With almost 900 rag pickers working at these dumping grounds, frequent fires have been reported. Residents living near the landfills often fall sick and complain of pollution.
- Mavallipura, Bangalore
The Mavallipura village is located at about 15 Kilometer away from Bangalore. About 100 acres of land in and around the village is used for dumping Bangalore's municipal waste by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). Opened in 2007, the dumping ground can sustain about 500 tonnes of waste, but the BBMP has been sending almost 1,000 tonnes of garbage per day. The massive hillocks of waste is a threat to the lives of residents of the 12 nearby villages.