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Narela-Bawana Waste to Energy Plant is anti environment, anti-workers & anti-people

Written By mediavigil on Thursday, March 24, 2011 | 9:15 PM

Note: Delhi must find long-term solutions to its growing waste problem. The landfills have a huge potential to contaminate groundwater, destroy the surrounding environments owing to toxicity and defile the forest. Such landfills will kill the nascent forest. The pits proposed for land filling are green with vegetation. The deep pits in the Bhatti area are ideal rainwater harvesting areas. Delhi's waste, hazardous waste characteristics that will contaminate the groundwater. The pits proposed for land filling are currently green and lush with vegetation. It is a forest in the making.

The pits in the Bhatti mines area are an ideal rainwater harvesting area. It is ironical that Delhi Government is proposing to turn it into a garbage dump. Delhi's waste has hazardous waste characteristics that will contaminate the groundwater. The idea of waste to energy plants based on a tried, tested and failed incineration technology in Okhla, Timarpur, Gazipur and Narela-Bawana is anti environment, anti-workers and anti-people faces bitter opposition. The construction of these plants are in violation of Supreme Court's order. 

As to Narela- Bawana waste to energy plant, 4000 TPD of municipal solid waste will be treated in two phases; Phase-I which will process 1000 TPD of waste will compose of a material recovery Facility (MRF) to reclaim metals and recyclables, and sort out organic and combustible material for composting and RDF facilities. Phase-II will compose of a power plant based on Mass-burn technology, which will process 3000 TPD of waste. It is claimed that a total of approximately 12, 86,260 tonnes of solid waste shall be disposed off in this facility up to closure of the facility that has been planned for 25 years. The total project cost is Rs. 70 Crores for Phase – I  and Rs. 378 Crore for Phase – II. The project area is 100 acres. 

The Narela-Bawan waste to energy plant site is site is accessible through Narela Bawana Road. Old Delhi Railway Station is about 14 km away from the site. Bawana reserve forest is within 2.5 km radius, Sri Krishna Sultanpur reserve forest is within 4.5 km radius and Haryana state boundary is within 5 km radius. The current proposal is to establish a waste to energy plant based on incineration of Refuse-derived fuel (RDF) for generating 36 MW using MSW processing capacity of 3000 TPD. The EIA report of the proposed plant claims that fly ash (that will be generated) will be sent to Landfill which be less than 20% of input waste.

A 40 page report titled "An Industry Blowing Smoke" released by eight national environmental groups saying, the core impacts of all types of incinerators remain the same: They are toxic to public health, harmful to the economy, environment and climate, and undermine recycling and waste reduction programs. It has rightly been argued that "Incinerating the nation's trash is a dirty, damaging and short-sighted non solution to the waste management problem". Its a robust report with 216 references. 

The report recommends Zero Waste approach which ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) strongly endorses.  Zero Waste means striving to reduce waste disposal in landfills and incinerators to zero, iIvesting in reuse, recycling and composting jobs and infrastructure requiring that products are made to be non-toxic and recyclable, ensuring that manufacturers of products assume the full social and environmental costs of what they produce,
ensuring that industries reuse materials and respect worker and community rights, preventing waste and reducing unnecessary consumption.

The report was co-released by Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League www.bredl.org, California Communities Against Toxics www.stoptoxics.org, Clean Water Action www.cleanwateraction.org, Energy Justice Network www.energyjustice.net, Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice www.environmental-justice.org, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives
www.no-burn.org, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice www.greenaction.org, Toxics Action Center, www.toxicsaction.org
Gopal Krishna
ToxicsWatch Alliance

NEW DELHI: Delhi government has denied permission to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to use part of the Bhatti mine area as a landfill site since the earmarked portions fell within the boundary of the wildlife sanctuary.

The affidavit filed by the government in the high court states that in light of the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and the Environment Protection Act, 1986 "MCD should revisit its proposal and explore the feasibility of segregation of the municipal solid wastes for disposal in a suitable area outside the wildlife sanctuary".

The proposal to use abandoned mining pits in Bhatti as landfill was discussed in 2002 and the municipal corporation had been asked to have an environment impact assessment done of the proposed activity. An in-principal approval had also been accorded to the civic agency to use four pits for dumping waste. However, after a survey of the area and a site inspection led by chief secretary Rakesh Mehta it was found that the proposed pits were part of the Bhatti wildlife sanctuary, reserved forest and southern Ridge.

Delhi produces about 8,500 MT of waste per day of which only about 20% is recycled mainly through the unorganized sector of ragpickers. The rest finds its way into three landfill sites the capacity of which has long been exhausted. An MCD official said that according to a Supreme Court order, MCD was to have been allotted 1,500 acres to use as landfill sites but so far they only had 150 acres.

"We will have to assess the implication of this development but it doesn't bode too well for us. Apart from the three existing landfill sites, an integrated one will be coming up in Narela/Bawana in the next three to four months where waste of Civil Lines and Rohini will be taken. We are also looking at other technology like waste to energy and recycling to deal with our waste problem. Two plants, one each in Okhla and Ghazipur, are in an advanced stage of construction and work will soon begin on another one in Narela/Bawana. We also have to focus strongly on recycling," said the official.

The agency has come under severe criticism from several agencies in its inability to manage waste. The overflowing landfill sites also receive construction waste and hazardous waste and have been found to contaminate soil and groundwater. 

The Times of India
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