news Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - 05:30
  Following months of isolated incidents of fire at Varthur and Bellandur lake, an abandoned rock quarry in the outskirts of Bengaluru city caught fire on Monday morning, sending the officials of civic agencies into a tizzy. The incident took place at the abandoned quarry in Lakshmipura village in Anekal taluk, about 25 kms from the city. Residents in the area have been witnessing smoke and fire emanating from the ground for the last three days. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials inspected the site. They have cautioned people to keep their distance from the spot.  What is causing the fire? The officials say that unscientific garbage dumping in the area led to the forming of methane gas in the pit, and resulted in the fire.  According to a report in The Times of India, the quarry site was meant only for dumping of non-degradeable waste like plastic and e-waste, however, the BBMP disposed-off even organic waste at the site in an unscientific manner for several years. Since the degradeable waste consisting of even food was stopped only a few months ago, the BBMP officials flattened the land by covering it with layers of soil. The entire site now was similar to a huge gobar gas plant, and as a result, the organic matter slowly broke down and began releasing methane gas. Since there was no channel for the gas to escape into the atmosphere, the recent rains gave it route to escape through the crevices. Since methane is highly combustible, surface water began to bubble as the gas was trying to escape through the water, while materials like dry grass and paper caught fire. Trapping of methane also deteriorates and contaminates ground water thereby posing health risks to residents living in the area. Since farmers use the water from the quarry to irrigate their farms, they are now worried about the quality of produce. The officials ruled out any immediate danger in the place, and also ensured that they will tackle the problem. But the officials seem to think that the ideal solution should be a long term one.  The authorities have also banned more dumping of garbage at the site.  The issue of garbage dumping in the outskirts of major cities is a serious problem which causes many such risks.