“Come take a look at the thermometer in the truck. See what reading it is showing! The needle is between 90 and 100 right now, while it should only be around 40,” said a concerned Baljit Singh as he stepped out of his truck after dumping garbage at the Ghazipur landfill site in East Delhi.

“When I began dumping garbage here around 25 years ago, this was only a slightly raised area and it used to take just about five minutes to dump the garbage. Now it is virtually a mountain and it takes no less than 30 minutes to go all the way up to the top of this nearly 50 metre high dump,” he noted.

But this is when the going is good. “In the rainy season, things turn really bad. Trucks get caught in the slush and often the bulldozers, deployed to push the garbage down the slopes, come to our rescue and push them out,” said the driver, who now works with Shahdara Zone.

Pointing out that the long haul up takes its toll on the trucks, he said: “Higher up you have to drive in first gear. It puts a lot of stress on the vehicle. With the path being bumpy as there is no road, often the chassis of the vehicle also gets damaged and their life span reduces rapidly. My truck is only about 13 years old, but it looks much older.”

Like most other drivers, Baljit is also hopeful that soon a new dumping site would be found for the solid waste.

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