The Supreme Court’s ruling is supported by the White Paper produced by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, stating, “The government claims that this plant will generate electricity, but it will only generate dioxins and other toxic emissions.” Comtroller Auditor General of India (CAG) and Delhi High Court have rebuked the concerned ministries for treating Delhi citizens as guinea pig for experimental technologies that have been tried and have failed.
In such a backdrop, Waste pickers have marched along with Residents, Citizens, Civil society groups, Human rights associations, Environmentalists, Students, Social Activists, NGOs, Trade Unions demanding stoppage of toxic waste to energy plants in Okhla, Timarpur and Gazipur.THEIR DEMANDS ARE AS UNDER
- Union Government should remove incinerator technologies from its waste to energy policy being bulldozed by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy down the throat of State Governments
- Delhi Government Should Desist from violating Supreme Court's Order and endangering the public health of Delhi residents
- Mere shifting of the location of the hazardous technology based plant is insufficient, such technologies must be abandoned
- Central and State Government should stop with immediate effect the proposed waste to energy plants in Timarpur, Sukhdev Vihar (Okhla) and Gazipur and high cost routes for waste management must be avoided, instead only appropriate methods such as small-scale bio-methanation, composting and proper recycling be propagated.
- Central and State Government should give legal recognition to wastepickers and their role in the collection, segregation and recycling of waste. About 3.5 lakhs of urban poor, mostly migrated from rural areas in search of livelihood, are involved in the waste management informal sector. Wastepickers should be given legal entitlement for the access to and management of waste.
- Central and State Government must take cognizance of the threat to waste pickers’ livelihood. Therefore, municipal waste should not be handed over to private companies. Privatization of the municipal solid waste management should be halted immediately.
- Central and State Government should adopt policies which explicitly aim to reduce resource consumption and associated waste generation. Delhi generates approximately 10.000 Tonnes of waste per day, of which 50% is organic, 30% is recyclable and 20% inert. Both organic waste can be composted and recyclable materials can be managed by wastepickers. Therefore only the inert fraction should be diverted in the sanitation landfills in order to face Delhi’s problem of landfill locations.
- Central and State Government should commit to maximizing recycling, minimizing landfilling, and eliminating incineration altogether. Recycling (including composting and other appropriate systems for managing organics) is strongly preferable to waste disposal on virtually every criterion: greenhouse gas emissions, the release of toxins, employment, social inclusion, sustainability, and public expenditure.
- Central and State Government should recognize the informal recycling sector’s contribution to climate change mitigation; and, when undertaking initiatives in the waste sector, should adopt inclusive and comprehensive planning processes that give wastepickers a voice and vote at every stage of project and policy design.
- Central and State Government should build upon the strengths of existing wastepicker networks with investments and technical support to increase recycling while ensuring decent livelihoods for all workers and traders in the recycling economy.