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Toxic Snowfall engulfs Delh's Okhla Residents, untested, unapproved Chinese incinerator technology takes its toll

Written By Krishna on Thursday, December 27, 2012 | 4:27 AM

Press Release

Toxic Snowfall engulfs Delh's Okhla Residents, untested, unapproved
Chinese incinerator technology takes its toll

High Court delay and ecological lawlessness unfolding in national
capital with impunity.

December 27, 2012, New Delhi: Residents of Okhla neighbourhoods were
delighted to
see what they thought was the  season’s first snowfall descending on their
homes and frosting their cars. But delight turned to anger when they
realised that it was toxic ash from a large waste-to-energy plant
operated by the Jindal in their neighbourhood.  Children were quickly
ordered indoors and windows and doors tightly shut.

A group of residents led by the resident’s welfare association (RWA) office
bearers then drove up to the plant and demanded immediate stoppage of the
plant, which has been functioning  since March without proper clearances
from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Plant representatives R. K, Tomar and Som Vir Singh were compelled by the
RWAs of Pocket A and Pocket B, Sukhdev Vihar, to visit the colony and take
away samples of the thick grey-brown ash for analysis.  They assured the
RWAs that this was the result of excess silt in the household refuse which
is being burned in the plant and that steps were being taken to reduce ash.
Vimal Monga, President of the RWA of Pocket A told the Jindal plant
managers that the air over the colony had become fouled by thick smoke ever
since it began operating with many residents now suffering from respiratory
and other ailments.  The situation was particular bad in foggy conditions
with the smoke and ash from plant failing to disperse and settling on the
residential colonies of Sukhdev Vihar, New friends Colony, Maharani Bagh,
Haji Colony and Ghaffar Manzil.

Adjacent to the plant are major institutions such as the Institute of
Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Central Road Research Institute
(CRRI),  Apollo Hospital, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute and the Holy
Family Hospital, besides several schools such as the Dev Samaj Public

The plant faces bitter opposition from residents, waste pickers and
environmental groups. There is a a Writ Petition (Civil) NO. 9901/2009 in the
Delhi High Court against the power plant by Delhi's Timarpur-Okhla Waste
Management Co Pvt Ltd (TOWMCL) of M/s Jindal Urban Infrastructure
Limited (JUIL), a company of M/s Jindal Saw Group Limited.

The 31 page report of the Union Environment & Forests Ministry
constituted Technical Experts Evaluation Committee of Central
Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on the Timarpur-Okhla Waste to Energy
Incinerator Plant has condemned the Timarpur-Okhla Waste to Energy
Incinerator Plant by JITF Urban Infrastructure Limited (Jindal
Ecopolis) has violated every rule in the rule book including
environmental clearance conditions. 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. The critique of the report is attached.

In the report, Dr A B Akolkar, Director, CPCB emphasized that as per
Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) Rules ᢩodegrdable
waste⠩s to be treated using biological method rather than deriving RDF
or by incineration as is being done by Jindal Ecopolis. This clearly
demonstrates that the Timarpur-Okhla Waste to Energy Incinerator Plant
violates the Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) Rules
framed under Environment Protection Act, 1986.

In the Writ Petition (Civil) No. 9901 of 2009 in Delhi High Court,
legal officials like Mr A S Chandiok Additional Solicitor General and
Standing Counsel for the Delhi Government and for the Delhi Pollution
Control Committee, Najmi Waziri has been misleading and
misrepresenting facts about waste to energy plants in Andhra Pradesh
by saying that Refuse Derived Fuel incineration technology was
already in use at Hyderabad and Vijayawada. The fact is that there is
no plant in Hyderabad. The plant that became functional as per legal
officials now stands defunct is in Shadnagar, Mahboobnagar district of
Andhra Pradesh. On 18th July, 2011, Delhi High Court asked CPCB and
the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to conduct a joint
inquiry about India’s first waste-to-energy plant and file a report on
the allegations that it posed health risks to citizens. “A joint
report be submitted by the DPCC and the CPCB after an inquiry of the
site of the energy plant about the alleged risks posed to citizens,”
ordered a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv
Khanna, Delhi High Court. This has not been done so far. A bizarre
situation has emerged because the arguments for ᒥfuse Derived Fuel
incineration technology⠴hat was advanced by the law officers is no
more relevant because the plant is using an experimental Chinese
technology which was never ever mentioned at the time of submitting
the project proposal.

There have been incessant demonstrations and protest rallies against
this project. There is an ongoing campaign against it. The plant that
has been built despite protest is 150 m from the residential areas.
The area has a bird sanctuary, a university and three hospitals within
a radius of 10 kilometres. All will be adversely affected by toxic
fumes of the plant. The idea of waste to energy plants which is based
on a tried, tested and failed incineration technology in Okhla.

MCD, Delhi government and central government has shown unpardonable
callousness towards hazardous emissions from municipal incinerators
that cause serious environmental and health problems both to people
living near them and thousands of kilometres from the source. These
projects are destroying the livelihood of about 3.5 lakh waste
recycling workers and valuable resource material for compost that is
required to be treated by composting/anaerobic digestion/vermin
composting/other biological processing for stabilization as per
Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) Rules.

Representatives of GTZ (German Technical Cooperation) led by Dr.
Juergen Porst, Senior Advisor have stressed the need for a Disaster
Management Plan in the very first meeting of the CPCB'sTechnical Expert
Committee, which is annexed to the CPCB'sreport. But this does not find
mention in the recommendations of the report. This finds reference in
the minutes of the meeting annexed with the report. It underlines the
possibility of disaster from the Timarpur-Okhla Waste to Energy
Incinerator Plant, which is situated in a residential area. It is
noteworthy that a hazardous plant in Bhopal'ds residential area that led
to world worst industrial disaster in 1984 also did not have any
disaster management plan.

The Review of Technical Evaluation by Anant Trivedi, Member, Technical
Evaluation Committee, CPCB reads: “The Okhla plant has a capacity of
2050 tpd of domestic waste input. However the plant design allows upto
10,000 tpd of input for incineration. Toxic bottom ash quantity
produced will be 20-30% of input. This amounts to at least 410 tpd
rising to a maximum of 3,000 tpd. Additionally there will be toxic
flyash of about 10% of the bottom ash.None of the landfill sites have
the capacity to take in so much toxic waste and mulba has been dumped
every where including all public spaces.” He asks, “so what is
proposed to safeguard public health from this toxic substance?

The report apprehended that the information that is submitted to the
experts committee of CPCB might be used in the on-going case in the
Delhi High Court. It makes a shocking revelation that although High
Court has been hearing the case since 2009, the project proponent did
not inform the court about gross deviations from the project design
plan envisaged in the EIA report. As per the minutes of the second
meeting of the technical experts committee, non-cooperative approach
of the senior officials of Timarpur-Okhla Waste to Energy Incinerator
Plant was condemned on August 11, 2011. Representatives of GTZ
underlined that there was lack of transparency with regard to
environmental and health impact on the neighborhood residents. It was
also noted that the fugitive emissions and the expected emission of
Dioxins and Furans has not been quantified. The characteristic of ash
and required standards was not mentioned. Prof. T R Sreekrishnan,
Department of Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology stated that
disposal option for incineration instead of bio-methanation proposed
for green waste is in violation of what was mentioned in the EIA

A site visit by social and environmental researchers and activists has
revealed the close proximity of the residential colonies to the
hazardous plant which is belching out a cocktail of toxic smoke in the
households. The testimonies from the residents who are suffering from
the adverse impact of industrial smoke in the houses.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, Convener, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb:
9818089660, Email: krishna1715@gmail.com, Web:
Vimal Monga, President, 9711408421 Sukhdev Vihar   RWA
Asha Arora, Okhla Anti-incinerator Committee -  9810499277
Okhla Anti-incinerator Committee, http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/ghoslaokhla
Jindal plant representative.  R.K Tomar 999978044
Jindal  plant representati (environment and health) Som V
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