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Citizens urge the Environment Minister to do his duty to protect our forests and environment and cancel all permissions given for the waste to energy plant in the Aravallis.
DEMANDS OF CITIZENS
a) Permission for the 15 MW capacity waste to energy (WTE) plant in the Aravallis given in November 2019 by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change should be revoked.
b) No further permission for expansion of WTE capacity to 25 MW must be given.
Reasons for these demands are:
1) Site for the proposed waste to energy plant is in the eco sensitive Aravallis which sustains life in India’s National Capital Region. According to the Central Ground Water Authority, this area of the Aravallis where the WTE plant is proposed is a very critical water recharge zone for the extremely water stressed cities of the National Capital Region. Toxic ash coming out of the proposed WTE plant at Bandhwari will pollute the air and contaminate the underground water aquifers feeding the NCR cities threatening the life of millions of residents.
2) Negative impact of the toxic emissions from the WTE plant on the health of people already reeling under impacts of bad air quality in NCR will be disastrous. According to Dr. Shailendra Bhadoriya, Cardiologist at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Delhi: “The number of asthma patients admitted to intensive care units has gone up since the Okhla WTE plant was set up. Pollution impacts the whole body. It affects lungs, heart, brain, everything.”
A report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) submitted to the Supreme Court in September 2020, showed that the 3 waste to energy plants located in the Okhla, Bawana and Ghazipur areas of Delhi are releasing a toxic mix of chemicals such as Dioxins, Furans, PM 2.5 and Bottom Ash into the environment. Why do we need another polluting waste to energy plant in the National Capital Region which will play havoc with the health of people by increasing air pollution and diseases like cancer, cardio-vascular diseases, respiratory disorders? Bandhwari and the nearby cities of Gurugram (6 klm) and Faridabad (9 klm) are already in the list of most polluted places in India.
3) This stretch of the Aravallis where the waste to energy plant is proposed is very rich in wildlife acting as a wildlife corridor between Asola Bhatti wildlife sanctuary in Delhi and Sariska wildlife sanctuary in Rajasthan and the adjoining Mangar Bani is NCR’s last remaining patch of original Aravalli forest. A survey of Aravalli forests of Gurugram and Faridabad conducted in 2019 by the Centre for Ecology Development and Research and Wildlife Institute of India in 2017 revealed that these forests are home to rare native species of the Aravallis such as the Leopard, Honey Badger, Hyena, Grey Langur, Golden Jackal, Jungle Cat etc. The sacred forest of Mangar Bani hosts 219 species of birds such as the rare Crested Bunting, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Crested Serpent Eagle, Egyptian Vulture etc not very frequently seen in other NCR forests. Manger Bani also hosts the best-preserved vegetation of NCR Aravallis such as the native forests of Dhok, Salai etc. Conservation of Mangar Bani along with the surrounding Aravalli forests is critical for maintaining NCR’s native floral and faunal biodiversity.
4) Waste to energy model has failed in India. Out of about 11 waste to energy plants set up in India till now, more than half have closed down like the ones in Kanpur, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Vijayawada, Karimnagar etc. Most cities in India still collect unsegregated, mixed waste, which has high moisture content as a result of the food waste (60%+). As compared to Western countries, the calorific value of municipal waste in India is very low so they use additional fuel like diesel to burn, which makes these plants extremely expensive to run and polluting as well.
In violation of all solid waste management and environment norms, 2000 tons of mixed, unsegregated waste is dumped at Bandhwari landfill everyday. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had inspected the Bandhwari landfill site on 4th February 2020 and submitted a report to the National Green Tribunal which states: “Arrangements made by Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon’s waste management concessionaire Ecogreen to obtain refuse derived fuel (RDF) at Bandhwari landfill are inadequate and quality of RDF generated is unfit to be incinerated to generate electricity.”
PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS FOR DEALING WITH GURGAON and FARIDABAD CITIES’ MUNICIPAL WASTE CURRENTLY BEING DUMPED AT BANDHWARI LANDFILL
1.Eliminate 35 lakh+ tons of legacy waste at Bandhwari landfill by implementing Bioremediation.
2. Strictly enforce Solid Waste Management Rules 2016 based on source segregation of waste in both the cities.
3 Make it mandatory for all bulk waste generators in the 2 cities to set up composting or bio gas plants. This will take care of more than 60% of the food waste plus the horticulture waste of both the cities at source itself.
4. Set up composting or bio-gas facilities at sector / ward level to process the biodegradable and horticulture waste generated by sector houses, individual shops and other individual non-bulk waste generators.
5. Set up material recovery centers for dry waste and electronic waste recycling in all the wards of the 2 cities. This will sustainably take care of 20% of the cities’ recyclable waste.
6. Send the non-recyclable, non-compostable waste of both the cities (about 10-15% of a city’s waste) for co-processing to an already functioning cement plant in a nearby state as this technology burns waste at very high temperatures so pollution is much less and money will only be spent on transportation.
7. Make a sanitary landfill and biomedical facility away from eco-sensitive zones and human habitation areas to deal with 10% of the reject and sanitary waste of both the cities.
For more details, please read: https://aravallibachao.wordpress.com/bandhwari-landfill/