Page last updated at 13:08 GMT, Tuesday, 12 August 2008 14:08 UK

India's 'fragrant' rubbish dumps

By Prachi Pinglay
BBC News, Mumbai

A garbage dump in Deonar, Mumbai
Rubbish is dumped in open landfills in Indian cities

Authorities in the western Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) have been dousing rubbish dumps with perfume to lessen the putrid stench.

Municipal workers have been spraying two landfills in the city with herbal perfume for the last six months after residents complained of the stink.

Locals say perfuming the rubbish has lessened the stench. Environmentalists say it is an unsustainable solution.

Indian cities usually have open waste landfills, which pose health hazards.

The stench in areas around the landfills is high as the rubbish is not separated. Urchins and rag pickers scour the garbage for recyclable items.


Mumbai has a population of nearly 18 million, and generates 8,500 metric tonnes of rubbish every day. Nearly 500,000 people live near rubbish landfills.

Officials say that the stench from the landfills in Deonar and Mulund was so great that local residents started protesting.

So the authorities hit upon the novel idea of dousing the landfills with perfume to kill the stench.

A herbal perfume diluted with water is sprayed over the landfills almost every day.

The perfume costs $114,000 for 42,000 litres, which is required to "perfume" the landfills for between six to eight months.

"Perfuming the garbage has helped. Residents are complaining less. This will continue till we find a long-term solution," said senior municipal engineer A Karim.

A local resident George Kurien, who lives near one of the landfills, said he had filed several petitions demanding that officials treat the rubbish.

"Segregation of garbage is the solution to reducing stench," he said.

Garbage disposal methods in many Indian cities remain antiquated - rubbish is simply dumped on vacant plots, rather than being scientifically disposed of.

In one of the country's fastest growing cities, Gurgaon in northern Haryana state, there is not a single landfill. Rubbish is simply dumped all over the place.

Bangalore faces e-waste hazards
31 Jan 05 |  South Asia
Architects urged to copy India
08 Sep 04 |  South Asia
Growing concern over India's e-waste
12 Dec 03 |  South Asia
Indian state outlaws plastic bags
07 Aug 03 |  South Asia
Planet Earth's new nemesis?
08 May 02 |  UK News

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific