Citizens’ groups object to proposed waste-to-energy plant

They say consequences of plant on human health and on Aravali ecosystem will be enormous and irreparable

August 28, 2021 12:19 am | Updated 12:20 am IST - GURUGRAM

A view of Bandhwari landfill on Gurugram-Faridabad Road.

A view of Bandhwari landfill on Gurugram-Faridabad Road.

Several citizens’ groups have written to Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) raising serious objections to the proposed waste-to-energy plant at Bandhwari landfill site off Gurugram-Faridabad Road.

The Board has fixed August 31 for public hearing on the proposal by the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram to set up Integrated Municipal Solid Waste Facility with a proposed expansion of waste-to-energy plant from 15 MW to 25 MW.

In a letter addressed to the Chairman, HSPCB, the Citizens for Clean Air group said they were echoing the concern of thousands of citizens of Gurugram in strongly opposing any project for waste-to-energy (WtE) plant in and around Gurugram.

Anti-public health act

“We are aghast and anguished that Haryana government is bent upon setting up a plant as a solution to Gurugram’s waste management problem. Such a decision will be an anti-public health act by the State government as the consequences of this plant on human health and on the Aravali ecosystem will be enormous and irreparable. The waste-to-energy plants are proven to be environmentally disastrous and unsustainable, not only in India but also in all major developed countries,” said the letter.

It further added that the proposed plant at Bandhwari village by no means could be considered an integrated municipal solid waste processing facility or an environmentally and socially acceptable technology for processing city waste. “If the assumption of such a proposal is that the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram has exhausted all possible methods of scientific processing of solid waste as prescribed in Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, then this proposal is a derogatory step. The facts on the ground speak for themselves that even five years after SWM Rules 2016 came into force, the MCG continues to collect, transport, and dump only mixed waste. This is a gross violation of SWM Rules 2016,” said the letter.

Another group, Aravallis Bacho Citizens Group, in a seven-point objection to the project argued that site for the proposed plant was wildlife rich zone and was in the eco-sensitive Aravali belt which sustains life in the National Capital Region. It said that the site was close to Mangar Bani, the NCR’s last remaining patch of original Aravali native forest. It objected to the plant saying that the Environment Clearance got in November 2019 from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for the Waste-to-Energy plant (15 MW capacity) was obtained by submitting “false” information in the environment impact assessment and needs to be revoked, the waste at Bandhwari landfill was unfit to be burnt for generating power and such plants were non-viable, flouted environmental law and caused pollution.

The NCR Waste Matters Citizens Action and Awareness Group said the burning of mixed inert waste was only going to cause more environmental damage in the ecologically sensitive area of the Aravalis with over 219 species of birds in neighbouring Mangar Bani.

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