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Okhla waste to energy plant, Delhi, India

Residents filed a case against Okhla waste-to-energy plant, refusing to bear the risk of dioxin. The waste pickers movement also opposed incineration of waste. NGT decided in favour of the plant in 2017.


Sukhdev Vihar near Okhla; Delhi residents filed a case in the Delhi high court against the Okhla waste-to-energy plant. Local residents have opposed the plant. The report also claimed that an untested and unapproved Chinese incinerator technology was being used in the plant. The case was transferred to National Green Tribunal on January 23, 2013. Representatives from Delhi government has failed to appear before the tribunal.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Okhla waste to energy plant, Delhi, India
State or province:Delhi
Location of conflict:Okhla
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Waste privatisation conflicts / waste-picker access to waste
E-waste and other waste import zones
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Specific commodities:E-waste

Domestic municipal waste
Industrial waste
Chemical products
Project Details and Actors
Project details

According to Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), already beforel 06.3.2012, a total of 27,469 Metric Tons of municipal solid waste had been utilized and 3,250 Metric Tons of waste was lying in the collection/storage pit in the plant.

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Type of populationUrban
Start of the conflict:2011
Company names or state enterprises:Delhi Timarpur-Okhla Waste Management Co Pvt Ltd (TOWMCL) from India
M/s Jindal Urban Infrastructure Limited (JUIL) from India - a company of M/s Jindal Saw Group Limited (India)
Relevant government actors:Delhi Government.
Uttar Pradesh Government.
National Green Tribunal
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Sukhdev Vihars Pocket B Resident Welfare Association
Waste recyclers unions ( All India Kabadi Mazdoor Mahasangh (AIKMM), Safai Sena, Delhi Kabadi Mazdoor Sangh, Green Flag)
GAIA (international alliance against incineration of waste)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Local government/political parties
Social movements
Trade unions
Wastepickers, recyclers
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil contamination, Global warming
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsRisk of dioxin
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood
Potential: Specific impacts on women
Other socio-economic impactsReyclers argue they lose their means of livelihood since waste is privatized and incinerated
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Proposal and development of alternatives:Local residants are ready to give their open rooftop area that can be dedicated to solar panels. They have volunteered the space to generate solar power to show there is not need for turning waste to energy. Residents wants the waste to water plant to be stopped or transferred from the locality .
Recyclers unions propose that cooperatives or unions working in better conditions would recycle the waste.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Local residents filed case against the Okhla waste-to-energy plant in Delhi High Court in 2009. The case was transferred to National Green Tribunal on January 23, 2013. Representatives from Delhi government failed to appear before the tribunal. The reason is not known. In 2017 the NGT decided in favour of incineration.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[click to view]

Economic and Political Wekly, Delhi's Waste Conflict

Vol - XLVII No. 42, October 20, 2012 | by Seth Schindler, Federico Demaria, and Shashi B Pandit
[click to view]

Demaria, F. Schindler S. (2016). Contesting Urban Metabolism: Struggles Over Waste‐to‐Energy in Delhi, India. Antipode, 48(2), p. 293-313.

Pollution by Okhla Waste-to – Energy Plant
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Pollution level near Okhla waste-to-energy plant 25 times above limit
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Residents of Sukhdev Vihar want waste plant to go, pledge terraces for solar panels
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Waste plant threat to Okhla bird sanctuary: UP
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Justice Still a mirage for Okhla residents
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Okhla waste to energy plant: NGT notice on possible threat to bird sanctuary

Justice still a mirage for Okhla residents
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Okhla waste-to-energy plant operator told to control emissions or face closure
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Government skips Okhla plant case hearing
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Waste pickers protests against waste-to-energy subsidies, 25 Oct 2011
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Meta information
Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra/Federico Demaria/JMA
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:917
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