Skip to main content

Gurugram incinerator plant 'illogical' in Indian scenario: Activists tell public hearing

By Ena Zafar*

The government’s plan to set up a Waste to Energy (WtE) incinerator plant at Gurugram’s Bandhwari landfill has brought into debate the effectiveness of such plants in managing solid waste. Setting up an incinerator plant is “illogical” in the Indian scenario, according to several experts. Residents from various sectors of Gurugram and from surrounding villages expressed disapproval of the “waste to energy plant” and its expansion from 15MW to 25MW.
Activists from the Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch (DASAM) along with various NGOs, social and environmental groups, including the Citizens for Clean Air, NCR Waste Matters, Warrior Moms, members of the Aravali Bachao Citizens Group etc. were present and marked their protest for the plant a public hearing organized for the plant's expansion.
The hearing was called by the civic bodies on the subject of waste to energy plant expansion on August 31, 2021. Despite heavy rain, more than 200 people from Gurugram, Faridabad and nearby villages around the landfill came to attend the public hearing.
A waste-to-energy plant (WtE) is a waste management facility that combusts waste to produce electricity. This type of power plant is sometimes called a trash-to-energy, municipal waste incineration, energy recovery or resource recovery plant. What is not accounted for is the large amount of noxious gases, the products of low temperature combustion of unsegregated waste, being spewed out by the plants into the city’s already polluted air. An expert compared this process with creating landfills in the sky.
WtE by incineration is a non-viable, non-feasible technology. It will force the operators and governments to slowly divert more and more waste towards the incinerators because it is a very expensive technology and can be economically feasible only if 50-60% of waste goes into it.
Solid municipal waste (SWM), if not handled scientifically, has the potential to damage the health of the environment and become a public health hazard. The emphasis of waste management policies should transition from disposal to source separation to recycling and finally to waste prevention.
Nearly half of India’s WtE plants, meant to convert non-biodegradable waste, are defunct. Further, the country’s inability to segregate waste has resulted in even the existing plants working below capacity, according to an analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment.
The authorities are viewing waste only from a ‘trading’ point of view and not its management. Instead of monetising aspect alone, there should have been mention of due processes for handling of recyclables and a list given of empanelled recyclable agencies to meet with the objectives of SWM rules of resource management.
The dry waste should be going to designated Dry Waste Collection Centres for optimum resource recovery for recycling purposes with authorised agencies. The Vendor Agreement is a serious reflection of the civic mess and failed SWM practices in the city of Gurugram. The agreement also resonates with the unaccountable and insensitive nature of waste handling activity being carried out in the city by the sole waste concessionaire of Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG).
Ruchika Sethi from the Citizens for Clean Air mentioned about the worsening air quality of Gurugram. In 2017, in order to address the prolonged exposure of Gurgaon citizens to poor air quality (5-9 times the safe level of PM 2.5), we submitted a petition signed by 25,000 concerned citizens. We also gave a road map to address the local sources of year-round pollution such as the rampant practice of waste dumping, levelling in open grounds and burning of waste (including plastic, municipal, e waste) in open areas. But the suggestions were ignored. She said that once this incineration begins, we won't be able to undo the damage done to the air quality.
Shashi Bhushan from the DASAM spoke about Integrating waste pickers, scrap dealers, aggregators, recyclers at ward level and augment their work and provide infrastructure support either by way of some basic machines which will help stack and aggregate the dry waste as well as allocate land to work as secondary sorting sheds or dry waste collection centres. 
If waste is from different parts of Gurugram and Haryana, why should Bandhwari village suffer?

 He raised questions about the implementation of SWM Rules which are not being implemented by the municipal corporations. He demanded that Material Recovery Facility (MRF) centres to be set up at ward levels thereby following the SWM Rules. He alleged that this plant will destroy the only source of livelihood for thousands of waste pickers.
Environmentalist Saurabh mentioned about the Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) plant which was built in collaboration with Angel Biotech a few years back but later burned. The plant was set up using the taxpayers money and later burned using the same.
He questioned the panel and asked them about the things found in household waste which will be burned to produce energy. He added that he has been working since the last 13 years to develop greens and clean our environment but we’ve received no support from the government.
Environmentalist Vaishali Rana asked the authorities that if the waste is from different parts of Gurugram and Haryana, then why is the waste not sorted at their originating point only? Why do the people of Bandhwari village have to face the impact of the huge landfill site? She alleged that the environmental clearance which was taken by the company is based on false information.
The report submitted by the company for clearance of 2019 doesn't mention that the area which is sought for the plant comes under Aravali which falls under ‘gair mumkin pahar’ (uncultivable hill) and is notified under Section 4 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA). For the same, they need to seek permission from the Central Government and not the Haryana Forest Department, she said.
Knowledge support was provided by Shibu K. Nair of the Global Alliance for Incinerator 

Alternatives (GAIA), Dr Shyamala Mani and many environmentalists who backed the opposition to the plant.
---
*National Coordinator, Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch (DASAM)

Comments

TRENDING

Economist-editor's allegations on Narmada defamatory, baseless: Medha Patkar

Counterview Desk  In a reply directly addressed to well-known economist, journalist and columnist Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar’s two articles in the Times of India (republished here and here ), calling them defamatory and wondering whether they were borne out of “ignorance or a conspiracy through political alliance”, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Pakar has said that the Narmada Sardar Saravar Project and the people's movement by adivasis, farmers, labourers, fish workers, potters and all the generations’ old communities from the river valley have suddenly come to be focused on, since the Gujarat elections are in the doorstep. She believes that while the “defamatory accusations with baseless conceptions such as ‘urban naxals’ are to be laughed at as the electoral strategic moves, one gets shocked to read the articles by a known old columnist like Swaminathan Ankalesaria Aiyar, published in a reputed daily like the Times of India." According to her, Aiyar’s two articl

Corporate-political party nexus? Rise and rise of Gautam Adani under Modi regime

By Sandeep Pandey*  In last five years Rs 10,09,510 crore taken as loans by various companies from banks in India have been declared as Non Performing Assets, an euphemism for writing them off. Out of this State Bank of India alone wrote off Rs 2,04,486 crore. Only about 13% of the total written off amount was recovered. Identity of the defaulting borrowers, most of whom are influential corporates, is not revealed. Compare this to the loans taken by farmers. The names of defaulting farmers is displayed on walls in tehsil offices to shame them and some unlucky ones also land up in lock-ups there. On the contrary, a few corporate defaulters have fled the country and quite curiously the authorities didn’t seize their passports like they do with some dissenting intellectuals or activists booked under mostly false cases. Now consider the donations received by political parties in the form of electoral bonds. The identity of the donor need not be revealed even to the Election Commission or i

Facing tough times, Rajasthan's Raika herders hold first-ever camel cheese festival

By Rosamma Thomas*  During the pandemic, the annual Pushkar camel fair in Rajasthan did not occur for fear of contagion; in 2022, it was called off again as lumpy skin disease affected cattle. At Sadri in Pali district, however, festivity continues – a two-day Camel Cheese Festival was held on November 23 and 24, 2022. Visitors spent time with the camel herds and their Raika, drank camel-milk tea with the herders and then returned to lunch at the Kumbhalgarh Camel Dairy, from where the Kumbhalgarh Fort is visible, to taste camel cheese. The Raika herders have been facing a tough time – camels are no longer used as much for transport or agriculture in Rajasthan. The animals have limited utility, but their milk is prized. Camel Charisma, the dairy at Kumbhalgarh, sends camel milk across the country to people who use it in therapy – for autistic children, improved blood sugar levels, or even to treat cancer. It is believed that the health benefits of the camel milk is because the animals

'Extremist' US Hindu global group funding hate against Indian Churches: NGO groups

Counterview Desk  As many as 14 civil rights and faith-based organizations in co-signing a letter to the US Senators, Representatives, State Governor, and other elected officials have demanded the FBI, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Department of Justice should investigate into Texas-based organization Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF) a fundraiser campaign for demolishing churches in India. Co-signed by Federation of Indian American Christian Organization in North America (FIACONA), North American Church of God, Southern Methodist University (SMU) Human Rights Program, Amnesty International - Dallas, World Without Genocide, Center for Pluralism, Genocide Watch, The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), Limitless Church, Justice for All, Hindu for Human Rights, North Texas Peace Advocates, Good Citizens of DFW, and the North Texas Islamic Council, the letter has been sent to Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz; Representatives Michael C Burgess, Pat Fallon, Van Taylor, Terr

Carbon abatement to tackle climate change: India's failure has 'outpaced' its success

By Satorupa Karmakar*  On November 01, 2021, India took a pledge of reaching a carbon-zero stage by 2070, at the COP-26 held in Glasgow, UK. As ‘ambitious’ and dubious it may sound to some, with a short-term delay in renewable energy generation (which gained the pace post-September 2020) and drastic fall in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission level as COVID-19 emerged as a ‘necessary evil’ , the path of India’s clean energy mission could be seen being paved throughout this time. Currently ranked as the third largest GHG emitter in the world, India is projected to demand more energy in coming years due to a large population base (1.3 billion as per 2011 Census data) and primarily coal-based fast-growing economy. Rapid industrialisation in post-colonial developing countries like India, stimulated by a larger and cheaper pool of fossil fuels and labour-force depicted a continuous upsurge in temperature, heavy precipitation in some places with an overall declining rainfall and a burgeoning soc

BJP-RSS trap opposition in 'futile row' around Savarkar, freedom movement

By Prem Singh*  Everything in this article is just a repetition. I have been saying all this since 1991-92. It is obvious that the Congress and the RSS/BJP do not like my ideas. But most socialists, advocates of social justice and communists also dislike my thoughts. I watch their measures and efforts to deal with the present crisis with interest. I respect them and also participate. Yet, the fact it, we fall behind again and again, and the crisis goes ahead. Instead of being a solution-providers, we are seen to be a part of the crisis. How long will this last? Perhaps, if the new generation thinks differently, things may turn for better! 1 To say that modern Indian society and politics are passing through the deepest crisis ever will surely be a repetition. The crisis is deeper than the spreading of communal hatred we witness around us. In fact, the business of communal hatred is flourishing by taking its manure and water from the deep crisis. The crisis of neo-colonial slavery is pro

Demand to withdraw 'anti-environment, anti-adivasi' forest conservation rules 2022

By Gopinath Majhi*  The Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), Odisha, a coalition of adivasis and forest dwellers’ organisations, has sent a memorandum to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) raising serious concerns over Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022, notified by the Centre on June 29.  Contending that recent amendments and a host of executive orders/guidelines issued by the ministry undermine and dilute the FRA and threaten the rights of adivasis and forest dwellers, CSD demands that the 2022 FC Rules should be rescinded forthwith. Demanding withdrawal of such anti-people and anti-environment rules CSD Odisha organised a protest Dharana in front of State Assembly today on 25th November 2022 and submitted memorandums to the Hon’ble Governor of Odisha, Chief Secretary and Commissioner-cum-Secretary, ST & SC Development Department for conveying our concerns against the FC Rules 2022 to the Central Government for its withdrawal. The memorandums w

GM mustard not swadeshi, it's a patent of MNC Bayer, GoI 'misleading' SC: Modi told

Counterview Desk  In a representation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as many as 42 farmers’ organisations though their representatives , backed by senior scientists and experts, have said that the Government of India (GoI) should stop misleading the Supreme Court “with untrue and incorrect” statements on GM mustard. Insisting that India does not need unsafe GM mustard, in their representation, they urged the Supreme Court to order immediate uprooting of GM mustard crop in various locations. The representation comes even as a penal of experts, coming down heavily on the GoI for refusing to see how in less than a week’s time the pollen from GM mustard will “start contaminating” non-GM mustard fields with transgenes, including male sterility and herbicide tolerant traits. Alleging that the GoI is actively misleading the Supreme Court with untrue and incorrect statements on GM mustard, Kavitha Kuruganti of the Coalition for a GM-Free India said, “We can list at least five areas where Gov

Shedding Hindu-Hindi-Hindustan? New Modi-Shah love for Tamil Nadu 'ignores' Periyar

By Sandeep Pandey*   The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) or the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) have long argued for ‘Hindu-Hindi-Hindustan’, which into recent years has translated into a crisper English expression: ‘One Nation-One Religion-One Language’. Given this backdrop, it is curious that the BJP government has organised the Kashi Tamil Sangamam in Varanasi, the Prime Minister’s constituency. Why did the BJP and RSS feel the need for such an event? All Narendra Modi events are highly publicised and have multiple political objectives. It is never an innocuous religious/cultural event as it may appear from the face of it. Afterall, RSS calls itself a cultural organisation, but has never ceased to surprise us with its political designs. Tamil Nadu has a long history of opposing imposition of Hindi by Union governments. Periyar EV Ramasamy had opposed the idea of compulsory teaching in Hindi as far back as in 1937. The 1960s witnessed violent protests against Hindi in which a number

Never-ending saga of sin tax: What if murder is taxed at Rs 1 crore, rape at Rs 5 crore?

By Moses Raj GS, Sangeetha Thomas*  What should have ended by June 30, 2022 as a 5 year experiment has resurfaced. The government has extended the levy of GST compensation cess by another 4 years till March 31, 2026. This cess, dubbed as the sin tax imposed on sin(ful) goods, is double the highest slab on indirect taxes. But only a few pay for it and the majority benefit, unendingly. The year 2017 is a landmark year for indirect taxes. With the grand idea of ‘One Nation, One Tax’ as a fiscal slogan subsuming all State based taxes such as octroi /entry tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), sales tax, taxes on lottery, betting and gambling, luxury tax, purchase tax, entertainment tax, property tax, professional tax and central sales tax into a single framework of Goods and Services Tax (GST) changed the contours of revenue collection. Complicating it further, India, with each State having its own size and revenue problems, has the most complex and highly centralised indirect tax structure in the w