Sunday, May 29, 2011

Trading in toxins

The simple thing is to set fire to them. But that isn’t a good option, especially for plastics. Perhaps that was when someone came up with an idea — incineration. Then, someone came up with another idea — incinerate garbage and convert it into electricity. Then they took it a step further – “Let’s get carbon credits! Since garbage seems to be eternal, let’s just call it a renewable source of energy.”

So that’s why they began setting up WTE (waste-to-energy) plants in and around Delhi. Now, waste-to-energy sounds like a smart idea, but it isn’t. In fact, it is a failed idea. Timarpur had a WTE plant that had to be shut down after 21 days of operation (in 1990) because it wasn’t really generating much power. Delhi’s garbage was too wet — not good for burning.

So, naturally, Timarpur and Okhla people have been protesting. They fail to see why Delhi is subsidising and supporting WTE plants when the Supreme Court has already disallowed them in 2005. The Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh has already written to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, pointing out violations by the Timarpur-Okhla Municipal Solid Waste Management Company Pvt Ltd (owned by the Jindal ITF Urban Infrastructure Ltd). Even the Delhi Pollution Control Board noted that “no public/public representative/any interested person/NGO attended the meeting for comments/objections on the Project” (sic). Sheila Dikshit apparently did go to meet ‘interested persons’ but stormed out of the meeting since they wouldn’t agree with her. Now ‘interested persons’ have taken their objections to the Delhi high court.

Read the full piece here.

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