Locals demand closure of toxic waste incinerator

People urging authorities since 2009 to close plant

Scores of residents including environmentalists took out a protest march against hazardous waste burning technologies being used in waste-to-energy plant in Okhla on Sunday.

The agitators were demonstrating against an impending public health disaster due to toxic emissions from a Waste-to-Energy incinerator being operated close to their homes under Timarpur-Okhla Waste Management project.

They demanded that Delhi Pollution Control Committee should take immediate action and shut the plant.

“The hazardous waste to energy plant and a biomedical waste incinerator nearby have been visibly polluting the environment around,” a protester said. “Okhla includes many hospitals like Holy Family, Apollo and Fortis Escorts Heart Care Institute. The plane is also close to the Jamia Millia Islamia, Bahai Lotus temple and the Okhla vegetable market posing a serious threat to public health,” he added.

The plant is also a threat to the flora and fauna of the Okhla Bird Sanctuary and Wildlife Park, another demonstrator said. They also recalled election promises made by the Aam Aadmi Party that the plant will be shut.

Sonia Softa, a doctor and resident of Sukhdev Vihar regretted that the plant continues to function although incineration technology is known to be harmful for public health.
“The dioxins, furans and heavy metals emitted by the plant are already causing breathing difficulties to local residents and in the long run cause them heart and respiratory ailments”, she said.

The residents have been demanding closure of the power plant by Delhi’s Timarpur-Okhla Waste Management Co Pvt Ltd since 2009.

The date of hearing is on January 15. The environmental groups have demanded that the plant be shut down since March 2005.

 “Waste burning is a not a solution and exposes the hollowness of carbon trade,” said Gopal Krishna from ToxicsWatch Alliance.

“Chinese incinerator technology faces relentless opposition across the globe. This plant represents environmental lawlessness in the national capital,” he added.

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