23/8/2008 New Delhi: A protest rally against against the incineration based waste to energy (WTE) project brought the residents of Gaffar Manzil, Sukhdev Vihar and Hazi Colony together. Local politicians have also pledged their support for the protesters. Over 600 people walked through the colonies in a procession to stage their protest. Similar plants are proposed in Timarpur and Gazipur.
The proposed plant is located inside dozens of densely populated residential colonies like Harkesh Nagar and Johori Farm, when the policy of the government is to shift or relocate all existing industries whatsoever from the residential areas. Besides this the site is in proximity of hospitals like Holy Family, Fortis-EScorts and Apollo.
Inhabitants of colonies like Gaffar Manzil, Sukhdev Vihar and Hazi Colony are rightly alarmed at the prospect of a Dioxins emitting incinerator plant from coming up in their vicinity. Dioxins, the most deadly toxin known to mankind travels long distances in the atmosphere and is found on plants, in water, soil, grazing animals and humans.
“If the government does not act save the inhabitants of these colonies within 10 days, such protests against the plant and the government will continue” said Arif Khan of Gaffar Manzil Residents Welfare Association. Communities from these colonies plan to bring the traffic to a standstill at Mathura Road if government remains indifferent to their concerns, said Naresh Agarwal, P K Nayyar and A S Sachdeva of Sukhdev Vihar Welafre Association.
Earlier on August 4, 2008, residents did not allow the land hand over ceremony for the project that is proposed in the residential area of Okhla (Sukhdev Vihar). Unmindful of the public protest, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) had permitted Jindal Urban Infrastructure Ltd to set up this plant. This company has secured a contract from New Delhi Waste Processing Company Limited, a joint venture between the Delhi Government and Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd. (IL&FS), to produce 16 MW power from 2, 000 Metric Tonnes of municipal waste. The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has a policy and a Master Plan to give subsidy to promote such projects. The raw material would be supplied to the company by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. Prior to that a team of Rajendra Kumar, Secretary (Power) and Dr Ajay K Singh, Additional Secretary (Power), Delhi Government that visited the site of the proposed plant July 19, 2008 faced angry resident amid uproarious scenes.
Clearly, Delhi government, MCD, NDMC and the company in question are guilty of connivance with regard to manifest violation of Supreme Court's order that has permitted subsidy for only Biomethanation -a biological treatment technology and not incinerators. This matter came up for hearing hearing in the apex court on July 28, 2008 and is due for next hearing on September 9, 2008. Given the fact that this non-renewable technology is contrary to the recommendations of the Prime Minister's National Plan of Action for Climate Change, its claims about carbon credits are quite misplaced and merit scrutiny.
The proposed incineration based RDF (Refuse-Derived Fuel) technology for electricity generation from garbage involves emission of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) like dioxins, furans and heavy metals like mercury and lead. Dioxins are cancer causing and endocrine disruptors with intergenerational health impacts. The ash that results from burning the waste is more complex than managing municipal waste.
Instead of undertaking RDF projects, zero waste initiatives can save more energy than what the proposed projects can generate giving more livelihood opportunities for the urban poor.
Gopal Krishna, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Delhi Campaign for Safe Environment (DCSE), Mb: 98180896609
Arif Khan, Gaffar Manzil Residents Welfare Association, Mb: 9891519844
Anil Mishra,Sukhdev Vihar Welafre Association, Mb: 9313422881
Naresh Agarwal,Sukhdev Vihar Welafre Association, Mb: 9868113650
Hazi Rais, President, Hazi Colony Welfare Association, Mb: 9213427436
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