Residents of Mumbai can barely see as a massive weeklong garbage fire burns

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Mumbai garbage fire, Deonar dumping ground, India
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Residents of Mumbai can barely see as a massive weeklong garbage fire burns

An aerial view of the fire at the Deonar dumping ground in Mumbai, India. (Photo via NASA)

MUMBAI, INDIA - JANUARY 30: Sea Link is seen in heavy smog at Mahim due to fire at Deoar Dumping Yard at Govandi on January 30, 2016 in Mumbai, India. People suffered respiratory problems due to the thick smog. Mumbaiâs total waste generation is approximately 10,500 metric tonnes, of which 3,700 tonnes is sent to the Deonar. The waste-to-energy project at the Deonar site initiated in 2013 has faced bureaucratic delays. (Photo by Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
MUMBAI, INDIA - JANUARY 30: Smoggy environment at Worli due to fire at Deonar Dumping Yard at Govandi on January 30, 2016 in Mumbai, India. People suffered respiratory problems due to the thick smog. Mumbaiâs total waste generation is approximately 10,500 metric tonnes, of which 3,700 tonnes is sent to the Deonar. The waste-to-energy project at the Deonar site initiated in 2013 has faced bureaucratic delays. (Photo by Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
MUMBAI, INDIA - JANUARY 29: Smoggy environment at Vashi Creek Bridge on Sion Panvel Highway due to fire at Deonar Dumping Yard at Govandi on January 29, 2016 in Mumbai, India. People suffered respiratory problems due to the thick smog. Mumbaiâs total waste generation is approximately 10,500 metric tonnes, of which 3,700 tonnes is sent to the Deonar. The waste-to-energy project at the Deonar site initiated in 2013 has faced bureaucratic delays. (Photo by Bachchan Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
MUMBAI, INDIA - JANUARY 30: Sea Link is seen in heavy smog at Mahim due to fire at Deonar Dumping Yard at Govandi on January 30, 2016 in Mumbai, India. People suffered respiratory problems due to the thick smog. Mumbaiâs total waste generation is approximately 10,500 metric tonnes, of which 3,700 tonnes is sent to the Deonar. The waste-to-energy project at the Deonar site initiated in 2013 has faced bureaucratic delays. (Photo by Kunal Patil/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
MUMBAI, INDIA - JANUARY 29: A smoggy skyline of Mumbai city due to heavy fire in Deonar Dumping Yard, Govandi on January 29, 2016 in Mumbai, India. People suffered respiratory problems due to the thick smog. Mumbaiâs total waste generation is approximately 10,500 metric tonnes, of which 3,700 tonnes is sent to the Deonar. The waste-to-energy project at the Deonar site initiated in 2013 has faced bureaucratic delays. (Photo by Vijayanand Gupta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
MUMBAI, INDIA - JANUARY 28: Smoggy air in Mumbai city due to fire at Deonar Dumping Yard at Govandi on January 28, 2016 in Mumbai, India. People suffered respiratory problems due to the thick smog. Mumbaiâs total waste generation is approximately 10,500 metric tonnes, of which 3,700 tonnes is sent to the Deonar. The waste-to-energy project at the Deonar site initiated in 2013 has faced bureaucratic delays. (Photo by Bachchan Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
MUMBAI, INDIA - JANUARY 30: City buildings seen in heavy smog at Bandra, on January 30, 2016 in Mumbai, India. Parts of Mumbai since yesterday are covered in a thick blanket of smog due to various factors including drop in minimum temperature to 14 degree Celsius, fire incidents at Deonar dumping ground and high levels of particulate pollutants in the city. A health advisory issued by SAFAR on Friday morning said, 'People sensitive to air pollution are advised to remain indoors and everyone is advised to use pollution masks.' (Photo by Kunal Patil/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
MUMBAI, INDIA - JANUARY 30: City buildings seen in heavy smog at Lower Parel, on January 30, 2016 in Mumbai, India. Parts of Mumbai since yesterday are covered in a thick blanket of smog due to various factors including drop in minimum temperature to 14 degree Celsius, fire incidents at Deonar dumping ground and high levels of particulate pollutants in the city. A health advisory issued by SAFAR on Friday morning said, 'People sensitive to air pollution are advised to remain indoors and everyone is advised to use pollution masks.' (Photo by Vijayanand Gupta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
MUMBAI, INDIA - JANUARY 30: Smoggy environment at Worli due to fire at Deonar Dumping Yard at Govandi on January 30, 2016 in Mumbai, India. People suffered respiratory problems due to the thick smog. Mumbaiâs total waste generation is approximately 10,500 metric tonnes, of which 3,700 tonnes is sent to the Deonar. The waste-to-energy project at the Deonar site initiated in 2013 has faced bureaucratic delays. (Photo by Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
MUMBAI, INDIA - JANUARY 29: Fire at Deonar Dumping Yard at Govandi on January 29, 2016 in Mumbai, India. People suffered respiratory problems due to the thick smog. Mumbaiâs total waste generation is approximately 10,500 metric tonnes, of which 3,700 tonnes is sent to the Deonar. The waste-to-energy project at the Deonar site initiated in 2013 has faced bureaucratic delays. (Photo by Bachchan Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
MUMBAI, INDIA - FEBRUARY 3: Congress corporators wear oxygen masks during the BMCs budget session to protest against the pollution caused by the Deonar dumping ground fire, at BMC head quarter on February 3, 2016 in Mumbai, India. The fire at the dumping ground had started on Friday last week and led to closure of government schools in the city. The Deonar dumping ground, in eastern Mumbai, is spread over 326 acres. (Photo by Arijit Sen/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
MUMBAI, INDIA - FEBRUARY 3: A reporter takes photo of a Congress corporators wear oxygen masks during the BMCs budget session to protest against the pollution caused by the Deonar dumping ground fire, at BMC head quarter on February 3, 2016 in Mumbai, India. The fire at the dumping ground had started on Friday last week and led to closure of government schools in the city. The Deonar dumping ground, in eastern Mumbai, is spread over 326 acres. (Photo by Arijit Sen/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
MUMBAI, INDIA - JANUARY 29: Fire at Deonar Dumping Yard at Govandi on January 29, 2016 in Mumbai, India. People suffered respiratory problems due to the thick smog. Mumbaiâs total waste generation is approximately 10,500 metric tonnes, of which 3,700 tonnes is sent to the Deonar. The waste-to-energy project at the Deonar site initiated in 2013 has faced bureaucratic delays. (Photo by Bachchan Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
MUMBAI, INDIA - JANUARY 30: People visit Juhu beach on a smoggy evening, on January 30, 2016 in Mumbai, India. Parts of Mumbai since yesterday are covered in a thick blanket of smog due to various factors including drop in minimum temperature to 14 degree Celsius, fire incidents at Deonar dumping ground and high levels of particulate pollutants in the city. A health advisory issued by SAFAR on Friday morning said, 'People sensitive to air pollution are advised to remain indoors and everyone is advised to use pollution masks.' (Photo by Pratham Gokhale/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
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There are human garbage fires, and there are garbage garbage fires — and the blaze at Mumbia's Deonar landfill is the latter. The fire, which has been smoldering since January 27, is so big that NASA's Landsat 8 satellite was able to capture its image from space. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Deonar landfill receives between one-third and three-quarters of the trash from the city of 21 million people. Firefighters and bulldozers have been fighting to contain the fire, but the air quality in Mumbai is still so bad that more than 70 schools have reportedly been closed. Residents have been tweeting photos of nearly opaque skies all week.




A spokesperson for the contractor in charge of the Deonar dump told WSJ that Mumbai's municipal government regularly dumps more than twice the agreed-upon amount of trash into the landfill every day. The government had also promised to provide materials and funds for a waste-processing plant near the landfill, but it has yet to do so. "We were therefore forced to just receive the waste and spread it in a methodical manner without any scientific treatment," the spokesperson said. The Mumbai Mirror reported that "three minors between the ages of 10 and 12" started the blaze.

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