Residents of the city's Sukhdev Vihar area today told the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that Okhla waste-to-energy plant in South Delhi should be immediately shut down as it violates Delhi Master Plan 2021. The counsel for the residents told a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar that the plant is situated in the midst of the habitation and residential area which is strictly impermissible under the Delhi Master Plan. Senior advocate Amit Chadha, appearing for Sukhdev Vihar Residents Welfare Association, alleged that large number of trucks carry thousands of metric tonnes waste to the plant cause traffic and pollution problems in the area which has hospitals also. "A petition challenging construction of waste-to-energy plant was filed way back in 2008 prior to commencement of the project. We have been fighting the legal battle in the Delhi High Court since all these years.
The project cannot be allowed on the ground of 'fait accompli' (leaving with no option but to accept it) as it violates all the rules and regulations," the senior lawyer said. Referring to solid waste management manual prepared by the urban development ministry, he said incineration plants should be located at least 300 to 500 metres away from residential areas. The area was marked to be a district or city park in the master plan and not as a landfill site or a site for waste processing, he added. "Schedule III (of municipal solid waste rules 2000) provides that waste processing facilities should be integral part of landfill sites and have to be away from habitation. This is because, the environmental safeguards required for a landfill site would also have to be ensured by a waste processing plant as they are likely to cause the same environmental hazards," he said. The hearing remained inconclusive and will continue tomorrow. The tribunal had earlier rapped the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) over "inaccurate" data on various kinds of waste generated in the national capital daily. The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Sukhdev Vihar Residents Welfare Association praying for closure of waste-to- energy plant alleging that it uses illegal mass burning technology, causing air pollution. In its application, the association had also told NGT that as per observations of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, mass burning technology should be stopped immediately.
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