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It is shocking to note that The Energy Research Institute (TERI), New Delhi
that is advising is the Government of India to undertake combustion
technology based municipal waste to energy projects is headed by R K
Pachauri who is the Chairman of The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC) that was established by WMO and UNEP to assess scientific,
technical and socio- economic information relevant for the understanding of
Rationalising the same IPCC Chairman and head of TERI says, "The stress is
on India because we are a developing nation so we need energy more. But
developed countries shouldn't be pointing fingers at us because they have
done their bit to pollute the environment. So they should set their own
house in order first."
TERI in its study done for Indian Environment Ministry estimates that
municipal solid waste (MSW) to energy projects have the largest potential
emission reduction?92,200 CERs in India. At the current projected CER
pricing, the MSW project is expected to result in CER income of around
$400,000 every year. In fact TERI itself in one of its other studies on
solid waste management in India has pointed out that the techno-economic
feasibility of such projects is not established. Therefore, their
recommendation to undertake the same is baffling.
*From:* Gopal Krishna [mailto:email@example.com]
*Sent:* Friday, January 19, 2007 8:58 PM
*Subject:* Climate Change: Waste & Non Renewable Options
Apropos your piece "Garbage bins and the Kyoto protocol" advocating carbon
credit trading to solve urban solid waste disposal problem in Financial
Express (17 January, 2007).
Environmental, human rights and occupational health workers and activists
from 14 countries such as China, South Korea, Phillipines, Cambodia, India,
Nepal and others gathered in Trivendrum from January 15 to 18 at the Fifth
Waste Not Asia (WNA) conference called for adoption of Integrated Zero Waste
Management instead of polluting technologies like incinerators being
promoted by governments in the name of municipal waste to energy projects.
India is a stark example of failure of such projects, which are now being
pushed by vested interests to claim carbon credits by misusing Clean
Development Mechanism (CDM) despite the fact that it violates Kyoto Protocol
and causes global warming.
Besides the above, Dhaka Declaration adopted by SAARC in 2004 reads, "SAARC
countries agree that incineration as well as unproven technologies such as
Plasma, should not be considered as an option for the treatment of their
municipal solid wastes for low calorific value and environmental pollution
I wish to draw your attention towards a case which came up for hearing in
the Supreme Court on 4th January, 2007. The case dealt with the role of
Ministry of Environment and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in
municipal waste to energy projects and its failures. The latter ministry is
also implementing a national programme on energy recovery from urban and
industrial waste, to promote new technologies such as pyrolysis/gasification
and combustion for the processing and disposal of waste with support from
Upon hearing the application of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy,
Central Government to vacate the stay on the sanction of any further subsidy
in respect of proposed and future Municipal Waste to Energy Projects, the
Supreme Court on 4th January, 2007 refused to vacate the stay it put on such
subsidy by its order dated 6th May, 2005. In fact the Chairman of the
Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy has also expressed his concern in
a letter to the Ministry.
Acknowledging a news report of The Times of India on 21st December, 2004 on
the closure of a Rs 84 crore municipal-solid-waste (MSW)-to-electricity
plant in Lucknow, on May 6, 2005, the Supreme Court ordered a stay on any
further subsidies for proposed and future municipal-waste-to-electricity
(WTE) projects. It sought an inspection of the functioning and records of
the Lucknow plant by "an independent Non-Governmental Review Committee of
The main purpose of the "independent non-governmental committee" was to
investigate the propriety and need for ongoing subsidies for technically and
economically unviable municipal-waste-to-electricity projects in the
country. However, far from investigating the issue, the committee was taken
over by the Union Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (MNES) which
has now been renamed a Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (as per a
circular dated October 20, 2006). It became manifest to me from the manner
in which its meeting was conducted in August 2005 in Hyderabad.
In July 2005, despite the May 2005 court order putting a stay on subsidy,
the Ministry widely publicised its grants and subsidies for
waste-to-electricity (WTE), including 'burn technologies' which violate
India's international commitments. The very ministry that's role was to be
investigated ? constituted the committee, a clear conflict of interest.
Ignoring the facts regarding the composition of Indian waste, which has a
low calorific value and is hence unsuitable for electricity-generation,
ministries in the central government continue to experiment with this
technology at considerable public cost. Despite the failure of the same
technology in Timarpur, Delhi, on March 14, 2005 the Municipal Corporation
of Delhi (MCD) signed another agreement for an incinerator plant to generate
electricity from waste with Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services
Limited (ILFS). Although ILFS is an interested party its official D K Mittal
was made one of the members of the committee.
Non-renewable energy technology that is being promoted for municipal waste
to energy projects in India will distort waste management beyond
Environmental groups in India and across the globe are opposed to highly
polluting and obsolete combustion/incineration technology, which is
aggressively and irrationally being pushed by the Ministry.
*Our stand with regard to the same has been vindicated when despite our
suggestion the Ministry had pushed for agreements with Energy Development
Limited, the Australian company in some 6 municipal corporations across the
country. *You may ascertain the facts of the case as well. Mr Ajay Vikram
Singh, the then Secretary had assured me in person that the Ministry would
support no such projects in future. But with the change of
Secretary, similar projects are being pusged again.
I am hopeful that you will investigate the municipal waste to energy
projects further and after the perusal of both the Majority Report (by Dr D
K Biswas) and the Minority Report (by Dr Girish Sant and Prof. Shyam R.
Asolekar) of the "independent Non-Governmental Review Committee of Experts"
and the report of Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Integrated Plant Nutrient
Management, you will reconsider your views on carbon trading for waste
management to set the municipal waste management on the right track, which
is sought to be distorted through ill-advised burn technology based
municipal waste to energy projects.
Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health,
Jawharlal Nehru University (JNU),
New Delhi-110067 Mb:9818089660,
The death of earth is to become water, and the death of water is to become
air, and the death of air is to become fire, and reversely. -Marcus Aurelius
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