institutions, including hospitals like Apollo, Escorts and Holy Family. But disregarding these, as also a number of binding guidelines from multiple state agencies and at least one Supreme Court directive, the plant has come up, under the shade of slack regulation, at one-tenth the cost of a world-class waste-to-energy facility, deploying China-made equipment and inadequately provisioning for toxic by-products of incineration. It is strange that the Delhi government
is backing the project as a technology solution to the city's two enduring, and worsening, problems - excess of waste and shortage of power. But while contributing to the solution of two problems, the plant kindles a number of new ones, with potentially serious health
and environment implications for the residents of Delhi.
Unmindful of such concerns, this controversial plant is using a technology which is absolutely unsafe. The polluting potential of a plant using municipal solid waste as fuel is serious. Emissions include suspended particulate matter (SPM), sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), hydrogen chloride (HCl), and dioxins and furans, which are among the most toxic substances known to science.
The plant in question does not have clearance under the Wildlife Act although the plant is situated within 1.7 km of the Okhla Bird Sanctuary, administered by Uttar Pradesh Government. It is not surprising that bird count in the sanctuary is going down at an alarming rate. If immediate steps are not taken the sanctuary might become a ghost sanctuary and Okhla may become a ghost colony.
TWA has demanded an inquiry into the circumstances under which this plant was given clearance based on fake public hearing and misleading facts presented in the plant’s Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report. The clearance was for RDF technology but the plant is operating admittedly based on an experimental technology turning residents and birds of Okhla into guinea pigs. This came to light in a 31 page report submitted by a committee headed by Central Pollution Control Board on orders from Shri Ramesh. The deafening silence on the 31 page report of the Technical Experts Evaluation Committee of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on the Timarpur-Okhla Waste to Energy Incinerator Plant constituted by Union Environment & Forests Minister condemned the Timarpur-Okhla Waste to Energy Incinerator Plant by JITF Urban Infrastructure Limited (Jindal Ecopolis) which has violated every rule in the rule book including environmental clearance conditions is intriguing. It revealed to the Experts Committee in September 2011 that it is using untested and unapproved Chinese incinerator technology in complete violation all laws and environmental clearance of 2007 including its own project design document and environment impact assessment report. Chinese technology provider is from Hangzhou New Century Company Ltd of Hangzhou Boiler Group. Its findings merit attention.
This grave situation has emerged due to evidently flawed waste to energy policy of Union Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) which is providing fiscal incentives to hazardous incinerator and co-incineration incineration technologies like Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF). The MNRE must be persuaded to give this aspect of the policy to save irreparable damage to sustainable and sane municipal solid waste management practices. The Ministry of Power can vouch for the fact that the energy from municipal is inconsequential compared to the colossal public health and environmental concerns.
It is clear from Environmental Ministry's White Paper and the Technical Report prepared with assistance from Ministry of Science and Technology that MCD's “waste load” and its mishandling by the aforementioned contractors will distort the municipal solid waste management beyond repair. Indian National Congress led Government and BJP led municipal corporation in question has been insensitive towards the plight of the residents, the new Government in Delhi can take a pro-environment and pro-public health decision to save the residents of Delhi in general and Okhla in particular from the ongoing poisoning of their food chain. Even residents of Okhla bird sanctuary which is under the control of Government of UP will be benefited. This issue is a litmus test for the new Government. It should cancel the consent to establish given to the illegal and illegitimate plant.