OKHLA ANTI-INCINERATOR COMMITTEE
Dikshit’s Meeting With Okhla Residents Over Incinerator Turns Fiasco
6th April, 2011 New Delhi: A meeting between Delhi Chief Minister and Okhla residents over a toxic “waste-to-energy” incinerator turned into a fiasco with Shiela Dikshit storming out of the meeting in anger.
Dikshit tried told the residents that the plant, designed to burn 2010 tons of rubbish, or about 400 truck loads, per day was entirely safe and that they did not have the technical expertise to discuss it.
A press release issued by the Delhi government later said: “There will be no health hazard due to Waste to Energy Plant as only domestic waste/bio-degradable waste will be used to generate power”.
Led by Asha Arora of Sukhdev Vihar and Anant Trivedi from Ishwar Nagar, the residents told Dikshit that the fact was that the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) was already investigating the plant.
Wednesday’s meeting took place at the prompting of Minister of Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh, who had in a letter to the chief minister dated April 1, had pointed out several anomalies and violation in constructing the plant.
Separately, the residents have been pursuing public interest litigation in the Delhi High Court against the Waste-to-Energy plant and against a common biomedical waste incinerator. Hearings for both these cases have now been set for May 23 during a hearing today(Wednesday).
The residents found the chief minister’s response disappointing in the extreme. Asha Arora, who led the residents’ delegation said at the meeting: “You are behaving like Hitler with his gas chamber.”
The delegation included Dr Sonia, Mamta Soni, Sangeeta Gupta, Manju Dua, Prof. H V Singh and about 40 residents from the Okhla colonies of Harkesh Nagar, Jamia Nagar, Sukhdev Vihar, Sarita Vihar, Haji Colony and Jasola Vihar.
The residents said Dikshit was only interested in articulating the version of the plant operator Jindal Ecopolis, which had bought the plant from a susbidiary of Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services but is yet to get clearance from the MoEF, as pointed out by Ramesh in his letter to Dikshit.
Dishit was however dismissive of this and other violations surrounding the planting including the failure to conduct a proper public hearing before work on the plant was begun.
Ramesh has promised the resident that the plant will not be given an operating license until there was proper public hearing on safety and other aspects.
The proceedings prepared by Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) itself reads: “It is pertinent to mention that no Public/public representative/ any interested person/ NGO attended the meeting for comments/objections on the Project”.
The attendance sheet of Panel Members for the Public Hearing reveals that only two officials one Environmental Engineer from DPCC and another Deputy Commissioner & DM, Government of NCTD attended it.
Waste to Energy incinerators are emitters of Dioxins, a group of chemically-related compounds that are persistent environmental pollutants. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), “More than 90% of human exposure is through food, mainly meat and dairy products, fish and shellfish.Many national authorities have programmes in place to monitor the food supply. Dioxins are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer.
Prevention or reduction of human exposure is best done via source-directed measures, i.e. strict control of industrial processes to reduce formation of dioxins as much as possible.”
In view of such public health concerns incinerator technology is being discouraged world over. For instance, European Parliament has passed a resolution against it and UN's Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants seeks elimination of such technologies. Incinerators are one of the biggest sources of Dioxins. India is a party to these UN treaties.
Dikshit also failed to respond to the violation of a May 15, 2007 order of Hon'ble Supreme Court. The Court order is quite categorical in saying, "The Committee has recommended that projects based on bio-methanation of MSW should be taken up only on segregated/uniform waste unless it is demonstrated that in Indian conditions, the waste segregation plant/process can separate waste suitable for bio-methanation. It has opined that there is a need to take up pilot projects that promote integrated systems for segregation/collection/ transportation and processing and treatment of waste. In view of the report of the Committee and having regard to the relevant facts, we modify the order passed by this Court earlier and permit Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources (MNES) to go ahead for the time being with 5 pilot projects chosen by them, keeping in view the recommendations made by the Expert Committee and then take appropriate decision in the matter."
Despite this Dikshit Government has erred in issuing and supporting this illegal waste to energy incinerator which is contrary to the Hon'ble Court's order.
In a related development, Lt Governor’s office has called for a meeting to inquire about the municipal incinerators and the role of Union Ministry of New & Renewable Energy which is promoting such technologies.
For Details: Anant Trivedi: Resident, Eshwar Nagar, Mb: 9868502292
K K Rohtagi, Lawyer, Delhi High Court, Mb: 9810134860
Asha Arora, Resident, Sukhdev Vihar: 9711408421, Okhlakaghosla@gmailcom
Okhla Anti-Incinerator Committee - E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Blog: toxicswatch.blogspot.com, Gopal Krishna, Mobile: 9818089660,