Bindu Shajan Perappadan
Despite sustained public protests and lawsuits against the Timarpur-Okhla waste-to-energy incinerator in Sukhdev Vihar, the beginning of trial runs this January 2 has invited the ire of the residents of this densely populated area.
“The incinerator is located in a residential area which is surrounded by university, schools, hospitals and a bird sanctuary. It is huge health and environmental hazard and the residents have been protesting for a long time. But it seems that the Delhi Government has turned a deaf ear to the protest and plea of the over one million people who will be adversely affected by the plant. The trial run of any plant that has to be commissioned usually do not last more than three days, but in this case the residents have not been informed about any time period. This has us worried,” said Anant Trivedi, a resident of Ishwar Nagar and member of the technical review committee set up by the former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.
“As residents we are worried about the cloud of pollution that we are forced to live under after the trail runs have started. It is clearly a health hazard. What has us worried is the fact that the Government has not bothered to pay heed to the protest of the people. We have adopted every mode of protest, but the Government has not reacted favourably to our legitimate demands yet and in fact it has allowed the plant to come up and start its trial run,” said Delhi University's Prof. Seema Alavi, a resident of Sukhdev Vihar.
The incinerator has over the past year received must flak from environmentalist and registered protest from residents living in pockets around the plant.
Artist and resident of Sukdev Vihar Manisha Parekh said: “The incinerator is a public health hazard. It has been facing bitter opposition from residents, environmental groups and waste pickers and the Sukhdev Vihar Residents' Welfare Association has filed a case in the Delhi High Court.”
Environmentalist Gopal Krishna said: “The plant is located in a vast residential area which also has Apollo Hospital, Fortis Escorts Hospital and Holy Family Hospital nearby. The residents are clearly worried about the incinerator. It is creating a very small amount of energy at the cost of the health of the residents and the environment. The municipal waste to energy incinerator in the residential area is based on hazardous incinerator technology that emits persistent organic pollutants like dioxins and toxic heavy metals like mercury. Incinerators are tried, tested and failed technology and why the Government insistent on going with this technology is hard to explain.”
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