Okhla waste-to-energy plant safe, CPCB tells Green Tribunal
Justifying setting up of the waste-to-energy plant in Okhla here, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on Friday told the National Green Tribunal that emissions from the incineration plant were well within the limits set under the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000.
The apex pollution monitoring body told a Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar that it was regularly monitoring the emissions at the waste-to-energy plant and immediate action is taken if any complaint is received. CPCB also refuted the claim that the plant located at Sukhdev Vihar in South Delhi lies in the green belt and said that land was originally earmarked for setting up of sewage treatment plant (STP).
“The land, which belonged to Delhi Development Authority, was given on lease to New Delhi Municipal Council for establishment of STP to treat the waste collected from the Rashtrapati Bhavan and initially termed as Okhla waste complex which never took off,” the lawyer appearing for CPCB told the Bench. She further said the levels of particulate matter (PM-10) from the plant were within prescribed standards of 150 micrograms per cubic meter and CPCB aims at bringing down the emission levels of PM10 to 50 micrograms per cubic meter.
The CPCB lawyer said the plant was using “superior” technology for its operation and used refuse derived fuel (RDF) and biomethanation technology for waste management.
The matter is now fixed for hearing on December 13. The Tribunal was hearing a petition filed by residents of Sukhdev Vihar, alleging that the plant was releasing “toxic” emissions, which had affected their health.
The residents had submitted that the plant had obtained an environmental clearance, authorisation and consent to operate (CTO) on the condition that it would use RDF and biogas technology to convert waste to energy. But contrary to its promise, it has allegedly been incinerating mixed waste, which has lowered the efficiency of the plant and is causing air pollution. On the last hearing, the tribunal had summoned Delhi Pollution Control Committee officials, who had given a “consent to operate” certificate to the Okhla waste-to-energy plant in 2011.