Deadly Wastelands

Bhalswa landfill is one of Delhi’s primary dumping grounds for dealing with the city’s massive waste output. Following heavy overnight rains on August 13, 2020, a portion of the landfill collapsed, injuring three people and destroying jhuggis (shanty settlements) in the neighbouring region. Looking at landfills as a part of our 21st century modern cities gives a harsh perspective on the gaping inequality and disparity. These landfills are a reminder of our fragmented society; the ‘have’s and ‘have not’s; the mountains between the privileged that live a few miles away from these towers of waste, and the destitute workers who live in these polluted areas and make a living off waste segregation. Landfills are perceived with repugnance and distaste by city dwellers, but they fail to recognise and accept the grim reality of our lives which suffocate the planet and the poor everyday. As the mountains of waste gain higher peaks, the struggles of life for the people living in the shadow of society and those mountains rise at a higher rate.

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