The biomedical waste incinerator in Okhla will be shut soon. The Supreme Court-constituted monitoring committee had issued sealing orders to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) in October 2011 but the civic body has so far been sitting on it.
Officials, however, say they will take action by February. “The incinerator belongs to the Delhi government and so there has been delay in sealing. But the plant will be sealed soon,” said a senior official of the MCD.
After holding meetings with various stakeholders, the monitoring committee had issued the sealing orders in October last year to the civic agency. The incinerator often emanates smoke after processing medical waste collected from across the city.
The residents of Okhla have been complaining about the alleged harmful affects of the plant on the environment as well as on their health since long.
According to the orders of the monitoring committee, the premises should be sealed as the Masterplan Delhi 2021 states that “any trade or activity involving any kind of obnoxious, hazardous, inflammable, non-compatible and polluting substance shall not be permitted” in residential areas.
The residents themselves have been waiting for the sealing to actually take place. “The orders were sent in October 2011 but the MCD has been making excuses. This, despite the fact that 15 lakh people living in the area are suffering everyday due to the smoke and pollution,” said Asha Arora, a resident.
In 2010, a court had also ordered relocation of the biomedical waste incinerator but no plans to remove it has taken shape as yet.
Adding to the problem is the newly opened waste-to-energy plant that has opened less than 200 metres from Sarita Vihar residential flats. The plant converts garbage into energy. Area residents have been meeting officials of the MCD, Delhi government and the union environment ministry, urging them to stop its functioning.
Delhi government has, however, assured that the concerns of the residents are unfounded and said that the waste-to-energy will not pollute the area.