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Waste plant triggers public protests

Written By Gopal Krishna on Wednesday, August 06, 2008 | 9:45 PM

Bindu Shajan Perappadan

NEW DELHI: Residents staying close to the Delhi Government's proposed
waste-to-energy project at the Okhla sanitary landfill site have
intensified their protest against the project and demanded that it be
moved away from the residential area.

"We are not against the project as such and understand the need for
more waste-to-energy plants, but what we are against is the fact that
the plant is being set up in a residential area and has potentially
dangerous implications for the health of the residents. We will not
allow the plant to get started here," said Sukhdev Vihar Residents'
Welfare Association member Anil Mishra.

"The residents organised a protest on Monday when the plant was being
handed over to Jindal Urban Infrastructure Ltd. We got together to
express our anguish against the company and the Delhi Government for
ignoring grave public health concerns emanating from the toxic plant,"
he added.

"Ill planned"

Delhi Campaign for Safe Environment convener Gopal Krishna said: "The
residents are extremely angry and upset about the ill-conceived
planning by the government authorities. They fear that the proposed
plant will be using large quantities of municipal solid waste
containing plastic material and would surely affect the health of
residents living close to the proposed site."
Alarming prospect

Stating that the residents of Sukhdev Vihar and Hazi Colony are
alarmed at the prospect of this incinerator plant coming up so close
to their homes, he said: "Dioxins travel long distances in the
atmosphere and are found on plants, in water, soil, grazing animals
and humans. The plant is located inside dozens of densely populated
residential colonies. The government follows the policy of shifting
out and relocating all existing industries, then why is it setting up
a plant in this residential area?"

According to a release issued by the Delhi Campaign for Safe
Environment, the proposed Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) combustion
technology that is to be used in the plant for electricity generation
had failed in Timarpur, Delhi, in 1990. Similar plants have failed in
Andhra Pradesh, too.

"Polluting technology"

"The Delhi Waste Master Plan refers to it as a polluting technology
that is adopted in countries whose environmental standards are lax.
The use of RDF implies burning of mixed waste including plastics and
paper to gain calorific value (up to 3000 kcal) of what is otherwise a
low-energy mix. Also, as per the Municipal Waste Handling and
Management Rules, the combustion of PVC plastics is banned," said Mr.
Krishna.

8 August, 2008
The Hindu
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