Encouraged by the recent success of Anna Hazare’s demonstration, a group of south Delhi residents have decided to observe a fast unto-death to stop the proposed waste-to-energy plant in Okhla.
The residents have met several times since Sunday and are now deciding on a location to start the demonstration.
Residents are worried because an environment assessment report of the plant has found that there would be periodic emission of cancer-causing gases.
“Some of us have volunteered to fast while the rest will later join. We have to choose between the project site, Mathura Road and Jantar Mantar as the location for our demonstration,” said Asha Arora, who heads the Okhla Anti-Incinerator Commit-tee, a group of local residents from Sukhdev Vihar, Haji Colony, Jamia Nagar and nearby areas.
The residents were particularly frustrated after meeting government officials and chief minister Sheila Dikshit last week.
“It did not look like the government was willing to listen to our concerns, so we have no other choice,” she said.
This group of residents had also marched to Jantar Mantar last week in solidarity with Anna Hazare’s fast, which hosted throngs of people from various parts of Delhi.
A few days ago the Delhi government had delivered to the residents copies of various literature and technical reports of waste-to-energy plants and hazardous biomedical waste incinerators around the world. The residents are getting those evaluated by experts, mostly from environmentalists with non-governmental organisations.
One of the points that the residents have found is that the environment impact assessment report says that there would be “periodic” emission of cancer-causing gases but does not go into details of what the promoters would do to arrest the emissions.
“The plant is being built but the anti-emission technologies have not been installed yet. The impact assessment report is vague on when they would be put in place,” said environmentalist Ravi Agarwal of Toxics Link, who at the behest of the residents, has studied the reports.
“If they put in place the technologies that are available in the world, that alone will be as costly as the entire project itself. Even then, they have not said what and when they will install any such mechanism.”
The report claims that 2100 tonnes of garbage would undergo segregation at the plant to ensure no plastic or such material gets into the burning chambers.