Note: On February, 2, 2014 at about 11.15 am, residents observed fly-ash falling and cars, balconys, plants and varandas getting covered with a layer of dust. The chimney of the MSW WTE plant, Okhla was emitting smoke and fly-ash. The matter was reported to Vinod Babu and B.L. Chawla over mobile, SMS and email. They were requested to visit the Sukhdev Vihar colony and assess the level of pollution. At about 12.15 am, a group of residents, reached the plant to inform about the incident. The LED display board was showing pollution within limits.The Particulate Matter level was shown as 125 mg/Nm3. The plant representative informed about the failure of a boiler. Having discussed with senior, they decided to close the boiler. It is evident, the plant has some inherent design problems and the operators are not able to control the pollution.
On behalf of the residents of Sukhdev Vihar Vimal Monga said, "We fail to understand, when the proponent has assured to comply with EU emission standards, then why you refer to the laxed Indian rules. The siting norms has relevance only because of such accidents. Even in case of accident, at least the public health /life, should not be at risk. Keeping in view, the frequency of accidents, even after numerous warnings from authorities and court, public health at stake, the residents of Sukhdev Vihar demand the pollution control authorities, to issue closer order without any further delay."
Meanwhile, faculty and students from Delhi University under the banner of Scientists for Society are undertaking a study to fathom the emerging crisis besides science students volunteering to study it as a subject of environmental mismanagement.
Delhi: Waste plant draining out local residents
Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 03, 2014
Every time Naintara Devraj gets up in the morning, she feels sick and groggy. Thick black smoke swirls around her residence at Sukhdev Vihar through the night.
“There is a perpetual, acrid smell in the air, like in a crematorium. Sometimes there is the distinct smell of plastic burning. Often the smoke mixes with the fog and remains over rooftops,” the 47-year-old housewife says.
She is not alone. There are many who say a waste-to-energy plant emits brownish, soapy ash, causing eye irritation and difficulty in breathing. They say ash sits on houses, cars and plants and furniture; it can leave a stain on the skin and burn holes on clothes hung out to dry.
Vanya Joshi (51), a filmmaker, says, “My doctor tells me that the smoke from the chimneys has affected my immune system. I do not smoke but my lungs have developed black patches. If this continues I will have to sell my flat and move somewhere safer.”
Residents say they have been holding demonstrations, fighting court cases, and meeting officials for two years now, seeking relief from the smoke and ash.
Gopal Krishna of anti-pollution NGO Toxic Watch Alliance said, “We gave a petition to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on January 11. We asked environment minister on January 27 to intervene.”
Another resident, Rishi Bansal, has complained to government authorities. “I was playing football in a park. A sudden cloud of smoke came from the direction of the plant and settled all around us. Finally, we had to quit the game,” he said.
Residents claim toxic emissions from such plants have been linked to cancers, respiratory ailments and birth defects. “And it’s not only Sukhdev Vihar which is suffering. Other affected colonies include New Friends Colony, Maharani Bagh, Ishwar Nagar, Jamia Nagar, Jasola Vihar and Sarita Vihar, besides Jamia Millia Islamia University, Holy Family Hospital and other institutions,” said Krishna.
A delegation of Okhla AntiIncinerator Committee (OAIC) has also submitted to Delhi the environment minister documents “which nail the lies of the company that runs the plant and the regulators.” Ranjit Devraj, another resident, said, “We have submitted proof that the union environment minister wrote to the Delhi CM, questioning public hearings on whose basis clearances were given to the plant.”
Though Hindustan Times could not independently verify the claims of the residents, pollution control authorities have in the past found that pollution levels were above permissible limits. Delhi Pollution Control Committee member secretary Sandeep Mishra admitted: “The plant has violated pollution-control norms four times in the last two years.”
Govt mulls final warning for Okhla waste-to-energy plant (HT)