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Hazardous Waste to Energy Incinerator Faces Bitter Resistance

Written By krishna on Sunday, May 22, 2011 | 12:03 PM

Note: The final hearing of the waste to energy incinerator in Delhi High Court will take place on 23rd May, 2011.

There is a campaign against these incinerator facilities is on since 2005. The chronology of recent activities of the residents in such a backdrop merits attention:-

01.05.2011: Jasola Vihar RWA, Jasola Village RWAs, Sarita Vihar RWAs, RWAs of adjoining Okhla area had a joint meeting on 1st May, 2011. Having understood the health hazards residents are going to face, consensus formed to fight back. They launched ANTI-INCINERATOR campaign against the upcoming Waste-to Energy Plant in Okhla.

03.05.2011: Jasola Vihar RWA with others launched protest on 03/05/2011. They had one point agenda "No Incinerator in OKHLA TANK area". Good Health is a Fundamental Human Right, How can a Government license a new polluter within residential colonies? Awareness is spreading in Sarita Vihar and Okhla area.

05.05.2011: An open public meeting was organized by Okhla RWAs at Ramjani Masjid, to make people aware about the fast upcoming Mega Waste to Energy Plant, Okhla and health hazards due to its TOXIC emissions. The meeting was addressed by local representatives and residents from Sukhdev Vihar. They declared to hold a rally on 7th May, 2011. The peaceful march will start at 5 PM from Jamia School and terminate at Mathura Road.

05.05.2011: New Friends Colony RWA held meeting at its office in D-Block, joined by invited representatives from Sukhdev Vihar, Jasola Vihar, Jamia-Okhla, DJB Colony-Okhla Tank. RWA declared to launch the campaign against Waste-to-Energy Plant, Okhla by making residents aware of health hazards that will be caused from the TOXIC emissions.

On 14th May a TORCH was lighted followed by a peaceful march against the plant.

May 19, 2011 – Residents of the Okhla colonies marched Thursday to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to protest against the “utter lawlessness” of Jindal Ecopolis in building a toxic waste-to-energy incinerator in a thickly populated part of South Delhi. The residents presented a memorandum to environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh saying: “With so many conspicuous violations, this project should have been scrapped by now. No accountability is being fixed on those responsible for clearing and justifying this project. “

Gopal Krishna
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
India’s first waste-to-energy plant generates heat

New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) India’s first waste-to-energy plant, touted as an answer to the waste and electricity woes of the capital, will start operations from July. But people living near the site are up in arms over the Rs.200 crore project’s high environmental and health costs – something the company denies.

The Timarpur Okhla Municipal Solid Waste Management plant is a private-public partnership project of the the Jindal ITF Ecoplis and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

The project is spread over a two-acre landfill in Okhla in south Delhi. About 70 percent of the construction is complete.

Once completed, the plant will produce 16 MW of electricity, enough to serve six lakh homes, from about 2,050 tonnes of solid waste, which is 25 percent of the waste generated in Delhi every day.

However, residents of Jamia Nagar, Okhla, Jasola, Sukhdev Vihar, New Friends Colony and other nearby areas are worried that the fumes released through the chimneys will contain poisonous chemicals, and harm both environment and human health.

Syed Ishrat Hussain Zaidi, a resident of Haji Colony, next to the plant, says the government should have thought about the health ramifications of the plant.

‘The government should have conducted tests on pollution before setting up the plant. Human lives are more important than any factory. We are already suffering due to a bio-gas plant in the area. There is a foul smell and we can’t breathe,’ added Zaidi.

Farheen Akhtar, a resident of Jasola Vihar, said: ‘The plant will convert this densely populated area into a pollution hotbed. The trucks bringing solid waste to the plant will cause traffic snarls, and add to air and sound pollution in the area.’

The residents had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court against the project in 2009. The case will be heard Monday.

Counsel for the residents K.K. Rohatgi said the plant is illegal.

‘There is no legality to run this kind of plant in residential areas. We want the construction of the plant to stop immediately,’ Rohtagi told IANS.

Asif Mohammad Khan, legislator of Okhla constituency, says it was the job of the environment ministry to look into the project’s pollution risks.

‘What can I do? I don’t know about technicalities related to the project,’ said Khan.

But Allard M. Nooy, CEO of Jindal ITF Ecopolis, says the plant poses no danger to the residents and the environment.

‘There is no question of health hazard. We are responsible to the community as well as our reputation as citizens. To control air pollution, we have installed the best equipment available in the world and half the total project amount is being spent to control pollution,’ Nooy told IANS.

Nooy says this project is the first commercial waste-to-energy facility in India, and is similar to projects in countries kile the US, Britain and France.

‘The project is registered with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for earning carbon credits,’ he added.

Following several protests by residents, Environment Minster Jairam Ramesh had visited the site last month.

He had said it was a difficult choice for him because 70 percent of the construction work has been completed, but he can only ensure the best possiblehttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif technology is used in the factory. He had also asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to prepare a detailed report on the plant.

According to environmentalists, the project is a hazard not only for nearby residents but for all residents of Delhi.

‘It is a hazard for all residents of Delhi because of pollutant dioxins. Incinerator plants should not be allowed in any locality and a biological treatment method should be adopted for waste management,’ said Gopal Krishna of ToxicsWatch Alliance.

(Abu Zafar can be contacted at abuzafar@journalist.com)

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