by Web Desk | Published: 03-05-2021
Mumba: More than 300 citizens have written to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) solid waste management department in the last five days to protest against the proposed waste-energy (WTE) plant at Deonar Landfill.
At a public hearing on April 27, several people criticized the plan and the way the public consultation process was conducted. Citizens have been asked to suspend "all matters requiring public consultation until they return to normal." According to the Centre's Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, public consultations are an important part of the environmental clearance process. Failure to do so will enable the citizen to raise their concerns and participate meaningfully in matters that require their attention.
The WTE plant proposal is one such example, “the letter continues, signed by at least 301 citizens at the time of its pressing. Citizens pointed out that the 900,000 people living in the areas around the Dionysus dumping ground would be immediately affected by the WTE project, which promotes waste generation as well as particulate pollutants such as dioxins, toxins and furans, which are potential sources of harmful emissions.
It is alleged that the project will also affect people living in the vast Mumbai area, near Deonar-Mankhurd-Govandi, Powai, Pirojsha Nagar and international and domestic airports. "After the experience of the communities living in Mahul, it would be a careless practice not to work with this community before embarking on a project that could be detrimental," the letter said. On April 28, the Hindustan Times reported that BMC had not publicly released the environmental impact assessment report for the 4 MW WTE plant during the virtual public hearing (according to the Centre's EIA notification, 2006).
Responding to citizens' demands for this, BMC shared a copy on its website, leaving comments or inquiries until May 4. In the haste with which the EIA conducted and held a public hearing, large sections of the public were not given enough time to independently evaluate the project. The public has not been adequately informed about the project; we say this because the newspapers that gave the notice are not widely read publications.
The onus is on the government to ensure that members of civil society are properly informed of such matters, and in this case it is not enforced. Therefore, the MCGM should give the people 30-60 days to pass through the EIA properly and to state their suggestions / objections regarding the project,”the applicants demanded.
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