Residents oppose expansion of Okhla WTE plant
The Okhla waste-to-energy plant located close by residential areas is back in the news with the residents opposing its expansion claiming that the toxic fumes emanating from the plant lead to several health hazards among the people.
During a recent hearing for expansion of the WTE plant at Madanpur Khadar, residents opposed the expansion plan, urging the authorities to call off the expansion and shift the Okhla plant to the landfill site at Tughlaqabad.
“There is foul smell and toxic fumes within our society, especially during the winters and it have been impacting our health every single day,” a resident Dhruv Kapoor said as reported by the PTI.
“The plant is situated within 100 metres of our residential area. The Union environment ministry has already issued an order against expansion beyond 23 MW, and the matter is also pending before the Supreme Court. This is a matter of concern to the residents as these toxic gases are like slow poison to us. There are many who have been facing health hazards due to this,” Rajiv Behl, another resident of Sukhdev Vihar who was a part of the public hearing, said.
Besides Sukhdev Vihar, Jamia Millia Islamia is close by and there are hospitals too.
In a letter written to the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), the RWA said: “The DPCC had found the plant to be emitting excess dioxins, furans and Hydrochloric acid (HCL), and imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh for the default. This is not the first instance where the plant has been fined for causing pollution that is clearly injurious to the health of lakhs of people living nearby.”
“Proceeding with the expansion of the plant despite the case being pending in the apex court may also mount to contempt,” the letter said. Since the plant came into existence years ago, residents have been peacefully protesting for the closure of the plant with little success. Several times local representatives too have been approached to get the plant relocated with no positive results till now.
The fresh attempt at expansion was spurred by Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena’s visit to the plant. The draft environment impact assessment (EIA) report prepared for expansion states that the LG visited the plant on June 6, “thereafter, officials have taken steps for pending expansion of the project to utilise additional 1,000-1,200 tonnes of waste”, reported the IE.
S Khan, president of the Sukhdev Vihar Residents Association, said: “There is a case pending in the Supreme Court in the matter of the existing plant. We do not want this expansion to happen. The last time they attempted to hold a public hearing, we protested against it.”