According to reports, For the next three months, the Delhi environment department and Delhi Pollution Control Board (DPCC) will intensively monitor operation of the Okhla waste-to-energy plant.
Reacting to a TOI report about possible emissions from the plant since it became functional on January 3, the environment secretary visited the area on Sunday and said that while everything seemed to be in order at present, the government would keep a close watch on the plant as work is gradually scaled up in the next few months.
Jindal Ecopolis, the project manager, received a ‘consent to operate’ from DPCC in December 2011. “So far, everything seems to be alright and emissions are well within the prescribed limit; but we will try and have information pertaining to emissions made available online so that apprehensions of residents and other parties can be quelled,” said Keshav Chandra, environment secretary.
“A very small amount of waste is being incinerated right now. The smoke that is being seen from the chimney is essentially steam. However, one cannot be sure whether emissions would stay under the prescribed norms once the full capacity of the plant is utilized. For three months, there should be intensive monitoring after which a protocol will be prepared for further monitoring,” said a source.
A senior government official said it has also been proposed to ask Jindal to make incineration temperature available online. “Studies have shown that a temperature of 850 degrees Celsius or above is sufficient to ensure that incineration is safe. If that data is available online every 15 minutes or so, it would become easier to ensure that operations are normal. The matter will be taken up with the management soon,” said a source.
The government’s interest in the project stems largely from the massive protests that have greeted the plant. While not batting outrightly for the project, the government is cautiously promoting the need for the technology as “Delhi is battling with a problem of waste disposal and if this plant is also shut, no other solution is likely in the immediate future”. Central Pollution Control Board is also carrying out a study to ensure that the technology being used is safe and viable. A report is expected to be submitted by them shortly.