Press release by the Okhla Anti-Incinerator Campaign Committee
Residents vow to shut toxic incinerator
Batla House rally draws thousands
NEW DELHI, Feb 13 – A campaign against a giant, 2010 tonne waste incinerator coming up in South Delhi’s Okhla area received a boost on Sunday with residents of Batla House, Jamia Nagar, Ghaffar Manzil, Abul Fazl Enclave and Noor Nagar joining in and expressing full support at a huge rally.
“This incinerator, if allowed to come up, will surely damage the health of some 500,000 people living in these areas and beyond,” said Amanatullah, prominent local leader, addressing a rally at the main Batla House square. “We have to stop it at all costs.”
“This is an area that is largely populated by Muslims and it is well-known that everywhere in the world, areas inhabited by minorities are singled out for putting up such toxic plants,” Amanatullah told a cheering crowd of about 500 people at Batla House.
‘Whatever the government’s arguments in favour of such plants it is scientifically established that they harm public health by generating vast amounts of hazardous pollutants which will eventually enter the food chain,” Amanatullah said. “We cannot allow the government to experiment with our health and future.”
Addressing the rally, Aashu Khan, community leader from Abdul Fazl Enclave, expressed grave concern at the setting up of the plant in close proximity to residential areas.
“We urge the government to have it removed urgently and to let us live safely and peacefully,” Khan said. “We hae seen the Bhopal gas tragedy and now they are planning an Okhla gas tragedy.”
Gopal Krishna, Convenor of the Toxics Watch Alliance, told the rally that the incinerator that is coming up is in clear violation of Supreme Court rulings on such plants. “In 2007 the Supreme Court allowed five pilot plants on an experimental basis and that too based only on biological treatment rather than incineration.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling is supported by the White Paper produced by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Gopal Krishna pointed out. “The government claims that this plant will generate electricity, but it will only generate dioxins and other toxic emissions.”
Protests have also been coming up against the incinerator from the major hospitals and health care institutions in the vicinity, the Fortis-Escort Heart Institute, Apollo Indraprastha, Cheshire Homes and the Holy Family Hospital.
In a protest note to the Delhi Urban Arts Commission, the Holy Family Hospital management said: “Setting up a massive plant of his type without consulting major stakeholders like the nearby hospitals, Apollo, Holy Family and Fortis Escorts, the Jamia University and the residents is nothing short of total disregard for the health of the people of Delhi.”
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