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Environment Minister Must Reject Incinerator Technology: TWA

Written By Gopal Krishna on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 | 4:14 AM

Note: Jairam Ramesh has responded to a letter from Toxics Watch Alliance (TWA). Other organisations and RWAs had also written to him. He has asked the Delhi Chief Minister to reconsider the location of the proposed Timarpur-Okhla waste-to-energy plant. Following complaints from several organisations and individuals, He has conveyed the concerns that residents have over the presence of the plant in an area that has residential colonies, hospitals and a green buffer.

He has urged the Delhi Government to re-examine the project and find another location for the project that proposes to convert the waste generated in the city to power. The project is being opposed by residents on the grounds that the plant will produce toxic ash and hazardous residues.

TWA disagrees with the Minister's response becasue the technology which is being used is itself hazardous. Therefore, its shifting alone is not a solution.

White Paper produced by his Ministry has already recommended against such dioxins and other toxic emissions.generating technology. The Minister must take note of it and reject this technology is which is a POPs and GHGs emitter.
Gopal Krishna
TWA

Rethink on waste plant in residential area

Waste-to-energy plant at Okhla: Sheila to review

NEW DELHI: Reacting to a letter written by environment minister Jairam Ramesh to reconsider location of the Timarpur-Okhla waste-to-energy plant, chief minister Sheila Dikshit on Friday (18th March) said she would call a meeting with residents and if there were any serious concerns, the government would take another look at the project.

"I have received the letter this morning. The government will not set up a hazardous plant, and to the best of my knowledge we have been extremely careful with the project. Since there are so many objections, I will call a meeting with residents as soon as the budget session of the assembly gets over. We can also consider a third party intervention in the matter. I will also write to Ramesh and ask if there are any experts he can recommend to study the proposal and suggest what steps should be taken," said Dikshit.

This was extremely important as the government was also planning to set up similar plants at Ghazipur and Mukarba Chowk, the CM said. "If there are any issues with the technology we need to address them before work on the other two commences," said Dikshit.

Ramesh, who had been approached by residents, had written to the CM saying that while residents did not seem opposed to the plant, they had serious "objections to its location near residential colonies, hospitals and a green buffer." He said: "The project is needed, but surely some other location can be found which does not evoke such wide protests."

Dikshit said that the technology had been very tempting since it would address two major issues for the city – power shortage and waste management. "Delhi has a serious waste crisis, and so far we have not managed to identify any additional waste disposal facility. This proposal sounded perfect for our problem and I had been informed that all possible precautions had been taken care of to prevent any health or environmental damage," she said.

The project has met stiff resistance from residents and environment groups. According to sources, none of the similar plants set up in India, including the one in Delhi, have worked due to the composition of waste. "To increase calorific value of the waste, elements like plastic will have to be added but its burning is extremely hazardous to health. Secondly, nobody has been able to tell us how so much waste is going to be transported to the plant. There are several issues which the government has not been able to address so far," said a resident.

TOI

Delhi has failed to handle its hazardous waste: Jairam


The Hindu

Appalled by a report filed on the functioning and the efficiency of the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) in Okhla, Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has shot off a letter to Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit instructing her to make amends.

The report that was commissioned by the Minister himself has pointed out that the CETP is not functioning to its full capacity and the city has failed to handle its hazardous waste.

Describing the findings of the report as “damaging” and the situation “unacceptable” both for the Delhi Government as well as the citizens, Mr. Ramesh has called for the Chief Minieter's intervention in taking corrective measures. The Minister has also regretted that a Treatment Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF) for hazardous wastes in and around the city has not been established so far.

According to the report filed by engineers from the Odisha Pollution Control Board, the CETP in Okhla has an installed capacity of 24 MLD, but is treating only 4 MLD of effluents. Designed for treatment of industrial effluents, the CETP receives 95 per cent domestic effluents for treatment, the report claims. It says, the CETP receives 4 MLD effluents, which includes 95 per cent sewage and 5 per cent industrial effluents.

It further says the treated effluent is discharged to domestic waste water drain which again goes to the CETP for treatment. “This causes unnecessary load on the CETP. Such disposal of treated waste water into raw effluent without recycle or reuse makes no sense,” the report says.

The engineers from OPCB have suggested using treated waste water for plantation purposes instead of discharging it into any water body.

“Till date the generated sludge, which is hazardous in nature is being stored in a shed inside the premises. No scientific disposal of the waste is being carried out, which indicates non-compliance,” the report points out, adding the sludge generated should be sent to TSDF for further disposal.

The Minister has also asked the Chief Minister to reconsider the location of the proposed Timarpur-Okhla waste-to-energy plant. Following complaints from several organisations and individuals, Mr. Ramesh has conveyed the concerns that residents have over the presence of the plant in an area that has residential colonies, hospitals and a green buffer.

He has urged the Delhi Government to re-examine the project and find another location for the project that proposes to convert the waste generated in the city to power. The project is being opposed by residents on the grounds that the plant will produce toxic ash and hazardous residues.

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‘Common Effluent Treatment Plant at Okhla not functioning to its full capacity'

‘No Treatment Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF) for hazardous wastes in the city so far'
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The Hindu

Going for the burn

Environment minister Jairam Ramesh doesn’t think it should come up in the present location of a densely populated residential area. The Asian Development Bank’s Asian Pacific Carbon Fund has dropped it from its aid portfolio.

Also, the residents of 15 south Delhi colonies (numbering nearly 500,000 people) are dead against it. Yet, for some unfathomable reasons, the Delhi government is pushing the Rs 200-crore Timarpur-Okhla waste-to-energy project that is coming up on a 15-acre Municipal Corporation of Delhi plot, a few hundred metres from south Delhi colonies like Sukhdev Vihar, Maharani Bagh and New Friends Colony, near three premier hospitals (Holy Family, Fortis-Escorts and Apollo Indraprastha) and an old age home.

It is being built on land that was seen as a green buffer between the residential areas and a biomedical waste plant set up years ago.

Like many other projects in India, this too began with a public hearing — an eyewash, really — in 2006 when the DMK’s A Raja was the Union environment minister.

The Delhi government claims that it had given a newspaper notice for the public hearing (a legal requirement for projects of this size) on December 17, 2006, but no resident of the area attended the meeting. Residents, however, tell a different story. They allege that the public notice was drafted in a manner as to conceal the fact that 2,050 tonnes of municipal solid waste would be burnt everyday to generate 16 MW of electricity.

Later a Right to Information (RTI) petition found that only a few people attended the hearing: an engineer from the project proponents, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, and a department clerk.

Alarmingly, the Environment Impact Assessment Report of the project, which formed the basis of the clearance, has since gone missing. Today, the case is in the Delhi High Court and will come up for hearing on March 14.

Interestingly, there’s a Supreme Court ban on such waste-to-energy plants and the court has allowed only five pilot projects to test their viability. The one under construction in south Delhi, a private-public partnership between the Delhi government and Jindal Ecopolis, is not one of those pilot plants.

Yet, at the Delhi High Court, the state government touted this project as one. But replying to an RTI question, the Union ministry for renewable energy replied that it’s not one of the five pilot projects okayed by the apex court.

While the government and the company say that there are no health hazards from the project, it is well known that all municipal waste combustors, regardless of what technology they use, release a number of pollutants including cadmium, lead, dioxin, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen chloride and nitrogen dioxide.

Dioxin and furans are toxic and they tend to persist in the environment for generations. Studies of human populations living near incinerators and of compounds released indicate that incinerators are associated with numerous health problems, especially in children and other vulnerable populations. These health problems include nerve damage, delayed development, birth defects, brain damage, respiratory and cardiovascular ailments, and cancer.

Then there’s the issue of plastics: the residents feel that complete elimination of plastics is impossible and they would be burnt as part of fuel to attain the desirable calorific value for the project during operations. This, they feel, will directly expose the communities to highly toxic pollutants. In fact, the Municipal Solid Waste Rules, 2000, rules say it’s illegal to incinerate chlorinated plastics (like PVC) and wastes chemically treated with any chlorinated disinfectant.

Cleverly, the government has used the climate change shield as a cover for the project and termed it as a renewable project. But annexure A of the Kyoto Protocol says that waste incineration is a greenhouse gas-emitter!

These are some of the serious questions that need to be answered. But as things stand now, the government refuses to remove its earplugs as residents run pillar to post for a fair hearing.

HT



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