India's 'Mount Everest' of Trash Is Growing So Fast, It Needs Aircraft Warning Lights

As tall as the towers of London Bridge, New Delhi's Ghazipur landfill continues to grow at a startling pace. Within a year, it is set to rise higher than the Taj Mahal, one of the country's most iconic monuments.

Nicknamed 'Mount Everest' by locals, the expansive pile of fetid matter is already more than 65 metres (213 feet) tall. As India's Supreme Court recently warned, it's well overdue for some aircraft warning lights.

When Ghazipur first opened in 1984, this was - of course - never the intention. By 2002, the landfill had reached capacity at 20 metres and should have been closed. Today, the 21 million people living in New Delhi rely mainly on this ever-growing monstrosity and two other landfills, all of which hit maximum volume at least a decade ago.

"About 2,000 tonnes of garbage is dumped at Ghazipur each day," a Delhi municipal official told the AFP on condition of anonymity. That amounts to about 10 metres of growth each year.

Not only is the huge expanse of rubbish an eyesore, it is also a hazard; on multiple occasions, the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) has tried and failed to shut it down.

Last year, the complacency of officials turned fatal. Two locals were killed in a landslide after a section of the mountain collapsed from heavy rains. The deaths prompted a closure of the landfill and a landfill rehabilitation analysis from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

India is one of the world's largest garbage producers. The country is also facing a waste crisis. Unless something is done soon, the Ghazipur landfill and others like it may soon grow too large to clean up.