The three proposed waste-to-energy plants, coming up in east and south Delhi, have run into trouble with environmental experts and residents allying with waste pickers. Claiming that they would emit poisonous fumes, causing damage to the residents' health, and provide only a minuscule amount of electricity of the city, critics are calling for construction to stop on these plants.
They plan to march to Okhla's Sukhdev Vihar area in the coming days, where such unit is coming up. The activists cite past government reports that say Indian garbage is not viable for this kind of project.
"Unlike western garbage, Indian waste is not high enough on calories to produce enough electricity. So, you either need to mix plastic in them or use a lot of oil to make them fit for power production. In either case, they will emit toxic gases and endanger lives," said B Sengupta, scientist and former member secretary of Central Pollution Control Board.
Even burning a sizeable part of the garbage in these plants will only provide a meagre amount of electricity. The Okhla and Timarpur plants will, for instance, yield only 16MW of power despite processing around 2,000 tonnes — one-third of Delhi's daily waste — of garbage.
But the environmental costs could be huge. If plastic is allowed to burn in incinerators, the fumes produced would contain a carcinogenic gas called dioxin. Similarly, mixing oil will also make the fumes poisonous.
P.S: A2Z Maintenance & Engineering Services (A2Z), promoted by Amit Mittal, sets up a 15-MW waste to energy plant in Kanpur, which is expected to be operational in FY 2011. The company has recently entered into the business of refuse derived fuel (RDF) generated from its own MSW projects. The Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) business of the company involves collection, transportation, processing, disposal and treatment of municipal solid waste. In the last three years (2008-2010) it has been awarded contracts for (a) setting up Integrated Resource Recovery Facility (IRRF) on a BOOT basis with an aggregate MSW capacity of 3800 tonnes per day (tpd) in six cities; (b) the collection and transportation (C&T) of MSW of an aggregate capacity of 910 tpd in two cities; and (c) the processing and disposal (P&D) of MSW of an aggregate capacity of 855 tpd in 12 cities in India. Currently, the C&T activities in the cities of Kanpur (in 34 out of 110 wards), Indore, Biharsharif, Patna (in one out of four circles), Aligarh, Varanasi, Moradabad and Meerut, and the P&D activities in the city of Kanpur are operational.
Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has forwarded a complaint to the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for a fact-finding report on allegation Amit Mittal, the promoter of the company, paid money to a certain government official in India in connection with the FMS contract that was awarded to the company for the Commonwealth Games held earlier this year in Delhi. In October 2010, it acquired the entire equity share capital of IL&FS Property Management & Services, a company in the facility management service (FMS) business.