Government authorities have shown sheer callousness by failing to check hazardous emissions from a waste-to-energy plant in south Delhi, a parliamentary panel has said.
The standing committee on urban development, in its latest report, has said all garbage-burning facilities in residential areas should be shut down.
“The (south Delhi) municipal corporation, besides the Delhi and central governments, have shown sheer callousness towards hazardous emissions from incinerators that cause serious environmental and health problems to people living not only nearby but thousands of kilometres away as well,” the panel has said.
“The committee feels anguished and dissatisfied with the reply of the ministry (of urban development) that the soot in the atmosphere is reported to be within norms,” it has said. Incinerator plants should be stopped in all residential areas in all metropolitan and big cities across the country, the panel advised.
The New Delhi Municipal Council and the South Delhi Municipal Corporation send garbage to the plant. “Although it is claimed that only non-hazardous waste is treated at the facility, the fact is that Delhi’s mixed municipal solid waste has hazardous elements,” the panel said.
However, the committee advocated for more such plants too. “The plant is consuming about 40 per cent of municipal solid waste generated. This is not sufficient. More waste-to-energy plants and compost plants should have been operationalised and upscaling should be done with increased budgetary allocation and capacity building in terms of skill and management,” it has said.
The report was placed in the Rajya Sabha on February 13 and presented to the Lok Sabha three days later.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked central and state pollution control authorities to conduct surprise inspections at the plant at Sukhdev Vihar in Okhla, which residents claim has been spewing toxic ash.
The plant, set up in December 2011, is supposed to burn 1,950 tonnes of solid waste sent by civic agencies everyday and produce 16 MW of electricity.
Residents say they have been holding demonstrations and fighting court cases for two years now.