NGT asks Okhla plant to use better tech to segregate waste

The National Green Tribunal today warned the authorities of the Okhla waste-to-energy plant of shutting it down if it did not urgently install equipment to segregate solid waste and continued to burn them, causing pollution.

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal today warned the authorities of the Okhla waste-to-energy plant of shutting it down if it did not urgently install equipment to segregate solid waste and continued to burn them, causing pollution.

It also directed the Central Pollution Control Board and Delhi Pollution Control Committee to inspect the plant and ensure segregation of municipal solid waste.

Pulling up the plant authorities for causing pollution by burning waste and making the air toxic for residents of Sukhdev Vihar in South Delhi, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar directed the immediate installation of segregators of improved technology.

"We will shut you (plant) down if you do not install improved segregators to the satisfaction of Member Secretaries of CPCB and DPCC," the bench said.

"It is a commonly conceded position before us that the segregator is not working properly... We direct the project proponent to immediately take all necessary steps and install improved technology so that segregation of municipal solid waste can be done," it further said.

The NGT directed the project proponent of the plant to file an affidavit within a week providing details of steps taken to ensure scientific and complete segregation of waste.

The bench also asked the Member Secretaries of CPCB and DPCC to visit and inspect the plant on November 19-20 to observe the functioning of the segregator and submit their observations within two weeks.

"The improvement proposed by the project proponent be examined by the Member Secretaries who shall be present before us on the next date of hearing on December 14," it said.

The tribunal's direction came on an application filed by Sukhdev Vihar Residents Welfare Association praying for closure of the plant alleging that it uses illegal mass burning technology, causing air pollution.

In its application, the association also told NGT that as per observations of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, mass burning technology should be stopped immediately.

The residents association had initially moved Delhi High Court in 2009 and the matter was transferred to NGT later.

The residents have alleged that the plant burns wastes which releases harmful chemicals into the air, due to which people residing in neighbouring locality were falling sick with respiratory and other ailments.

The plea said that as per the rules, such plants cannot be established near residential areas. 

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