Collusion of Congress, BJP promotes war chemical emitting toxic waste incinerators
(Picture: Prithiraj Jindal’s municipal waste to energy plant and the Niraj Agarwal’s biomedical waste incinerator.)
April 4, 2014: In a letter dated April 1, 2014 sent to residents of Sukhdev Vihar, Okhla who are protesting against adverse health impacts of waste incinerators, Col. Devinder Sehrawat, AAP candidate for South Delhi Lok Sabha constituency has promised that “when the AAP returns to power in Delhi, this plant would be shut down and if not, at least shifted to another suitable location with little loss of time. Hence, the voters of the area need to take the right decision at the polls.”
Residents have been holding demonstrations, fighting court cases, and meeting officials since 2009 seeking relief from the smoke and ash from Prithiraj Jindal’s municipal waste to energy plant and the Agarwal’s biomedical waste incinerator. ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) along with residents had given a petition to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on January 11, 2014 and asked environment minister Saurabh Bhardwaj on January 27, 2014 to intervene and save the residents from both the plants.
TWA demands that the waste incinerators plants should be shut down for good because shifting a polluting unit of factory does not make it non-polluting.
TWA has been underling the collusion between BJP and Indian National Congress to promote toxic municipal waste incinerators in Delhi's Narela-Bawana, Ghazipur and Okhla.
Doctors, judges and residents hold that 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.
AAP candidate recalled that that “shutting down of the bio-medical waste treatment plant situated at Sukhdev Vihar was a manifesto promise of AAP during Delhi Assembly elections 2013.”
AAP candidate explained, “As promised in the election manifesto, during the rather short tenure of the APP Govt., we had initiated several steps to close the plant. However given the complex nature of governance in Delhi such as the involvement of various agencies such as MCD, Central Govt. etc in the decision making and due to the very short period of APP’s rule, regretfully nothing substantial could be achieved. You will appreciate that to be fulfilled; this task requires a longer period of time.” He concluded that “since the AAP Govt. has already set the process into motion” when AAP returns to power the matter will be taken to its logical conclusion.
It is noteworthy that as per Delhi High Court’s judgment of January 15, 2013, Okhla medical waste incinerator was supposed to be shut down by 15 July, 2013 but in contempt of court, the Synergy company, the biomedical waste incinerator operator did not do so. It filed a review application and has chosen not to comply with the Court's order with no consequence so far.
The High Court held that “We, therefore, direct respondent No. 2 Government of NCT of Delhi and respondent No. 7 M/s. Synergy Waste Management Pvt. Ltd. to shift the bio-medical waste disposal facility, being operated near Sukhdev Vihar, to a suitable site. The site suitable for shifting of the said facility in terms of this order would be identified by the Chief Secretary, Government of NCT of Delhi, within three months from today in consultation with DDA and DPCC and the facility in question would be shifted within three months thereafter, i.e., within 06 months from today. M/s Synergy is permitted to continue to operate the facility at the present site till it is shifted to a new site in terms of this order, or 06 months from today, whichever is earlier. If necessary, any further direction with respect to the shifting of the said facility, in terms of this order, will be sought from this Court. Both the petitions stand disposed of in terms of this order.”
The High Court dismissed the contention of M/s Synergy Pvt Ltd is far away from residential localities such as Sukhdev Vihar. On inquiry it was found that the distance between the said facility and their colony is less than 30 metres. The Synergy's biomedical waste incinerator plant is owned by Neeraj Agarwal and Dhiral Agrawal.
Besides biomedical waste incinerator, both the Delhi Government and the BJP led municipal corporations are promoting such municipal waste incinerator based power plants which emit chemicals like dioxins that were used in US-Vietnam war. Both the political parties are bringing in this technology. Their harmful policy can cause irreparable damage to sustainable and sane municipal solid waste management practices.
Residents of Sukhdev Vihar, Okhla are demanding that AAP Candidate of East Delhi Mohan Gandhi Read more should also promise that if he is elected, he will work to ensure the shutting down of this polluting plant which is located in a densely populated residential area.
Residents, environmental groups and waste recycling workers have now appealed to the citizens of Delhi to ensure that both the parties do not get their support until they change their stands on the waste-to-energy issue and ensure that the health of the citizens of the Capital is not compromised and Delhi is not turned into a health and environment disaster zone.
As per the Manual on Municipal Solid Waste Management, the Union Urban Development Ministry has noted that the physical composition of Indian waste shows that inert material constituent is from 43.59 per cent to 53.90 per cent and compostable matter constitutes are 44.57 per cent to 30.84 per cent. Thus, the total inert residue from waste-to-energy incinerator projects will be significantly higher after the incineration of waste which will produce toxic ash as well that requires disposal in engineered landfills.
For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb: 09818089660, 08227816731, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web:www.toxicswatch.org
Vimal Monga, for Sukhdev Vihar Residents, Mb: 9810499277