Relocate WtE, Help Us Breathe!

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Nearly, 2,000 tonnes of unsegregated waste is burned every day in a Waste to Energy (WtE) plant at Okhla using cheap Chinese technology and equipment. The 10 lacs residents of Okhla are constantly doused in a deadly cocktail of lethal emissions round the clock.

The WtE plant at Okhla was commissioned despite a PIL filed by residents months before the foundation stone was laid in July 2010. A complex series of lies and deception both in court and outside has resulted in a toxic industry being run amidst residential colonies, prestigious institutions, major hospitals, schools, a bird sanctuary and reserved forest area and a central university.

The plant is located on a green belt in the eco-sensitive zone of the Okhla Bird Sanctuary and within one kilometre of the Holy Family and Fortis-Escorts Hospitals that treat critically ill patients and 45 metres away from Sukhdev Vihar (a well-known residential colony of South Delhi).

Other areas affected by this plant: Ishwar Nagar, Jamia Nagar, Friends Colony, Jasola Village, Jasola Vihar, Sarita Vihar, Batla House, Sarai Julena, Masih Garh, Haji Colony, Johri Farms and Noor Nagar. 

World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines require waste incinerators to be located at least one kilometre away from human habitation. As do the industrial siting guidelines of the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change

Here are some of the more serious and deleterious violations by Jindal’s waste-to-disease and -disaster plant:

1) Environmental clearance was given for converting waste into refuse-derived fuel (RDF). This was switched to allow the factory to directly burn waste, endangering the lives 10 lakh people.

2) The plant is located on a green area in Zone F7 of the Delhi Master Plan, earmarked for a community park. The Master Plan, in any case, does not provide for WtE incinerators.

3) WtE plants must be located in industrial zones according to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. But the Okhla WtE is in a residential area and just 45 meters from a long-established DDA colony, endangering the life of residents.

4) Apart from having to put up with toxic emissions, ash, noise and odour, residents live in constant fear of the plant’s pressure boilers exploding. The plant has crammed three boilers into two smokestacks, threatening a dangerous blowback and explosions.

5) The plant burns waste from the NDMC area which has land and resources but does not deal with its own waste in a NIMBY (not in my backyard) policy. South Delhi is made to suffer.

The Okhla incinerator has been proven to emit a cocktail of noxious gases, including dioxins and furans, and heavy metals like lead, mercury and chromium - to the extent of being warned and even fined by the NGT. This is the result of incomplete combustion of low calorific-value waste that showers ash and soot over a large part of South Delhi.

Meanwhile, doctors in the area have been reporting dramatic increases in the incidence of cancer, asthma and allergies. The long-term consequences of inhaling toxic emissions are well-known and prompting other countries to shut down WtE plants.

WtE plants contribute significantly to making Delhi one of the most polluted cities in the world, but authorities choose to ignore this fact and instead blame farmers in Punjab.

After 10 years of futile litigation, we are knocking at the doors of the Supreme Court to save millions of Delhi residents from premature death and disease.

Help us challenge this outrageously unviable policy of disposing unsegregated waste by incineration and providing valuable land and subsidies to a toxic industry.

Let’s join hands together to sign the petition in order to relocate the Okhla WtE plant to where it should be - far far away from the homes of people and protected natural flora and fora. 

#letsbreatheokhla #MyRightToBreathe #Righttocleanair