The image was first published by The Times of India in 2016. It was unknown why, or for how long, trash filled the area. According to Google street view's depiction of the site, which was documented in April 2022, the trash was cleared. It's unclear what the site looked like in October 2023.
In October 2023, an image was posted to Reddit allegedly showing a trash-filled street in Delhi, India. "There's a little bit of city in that trash," a Reddit user commented. Another user asked, "Is that a river or a road? or both?"
The image was authentic, though it was several years old, and the site's condition was unknown at the time of this writing.
We used TinEye, a reverse-image search tool, to find the origin of the image. Results showed the photograph was first shared in September 2016 in an article by The Times of India with the title, "PHOTOS: A 'swachh' city? Delhi has become a den of mosquitoes." The article reported on unsanitary conditions in various parts of Delhi at the time, using multiple photographs to illustrate the problem. It was unknown why, or for how long, trash filled the site.
In addition to the photo featured in the October 2023 Reddit post (left), the 2016 article included a similar, vertical shot from a slightly different angle (right). When we compared the two pictures, we noticed they featured the same vehicles under a banner reading, "NEW COSMOS PUBLIC SCHOOL" in red letters.
(The Times of India)
Additionally, by searching for the New Cosmos Public School in Delhi via Google Maps, we geolocated the exact place where the photos were captured. However, Google Maps' street view, which was captured in April 2022, did not show a flood of trash on the street but rather a clean environment. That was the latest depiction of the site online, based on our research.
(Reddit user @milktanksadmirer and Google Maps)
Given the photo was real in 2016 but several years old, we have rated this claim as "Outdated."