Noting that the dumping of waste has caused sizeable damage to the environment in Maharahstra and needs to be curbed, the Bombay high court on Thursday said that the government should ensure that there is no garbage is disposed of on mangrove land, not just in Mumbai but across the state.
A division bench of justice DD Sinha and justice KK Tated was hearing public interest litigation (PIL) filed by activist Jagdish Gandhi seeking the protection and restoration of mangroves, the restoration of water bodies in the state and making the Mithi River encroachment-free.
The court had directed all the authorities concerned with development activities to ensure that no permission is granted for construction on mangrove land. It had also said that these authorities would have to get permission from the court to proceed with any projects that might affect mangroves.
The court observed that even though it had passed an order in December 2011 requiring the government to file a monthly report detailing its action plan to implement these directions, the state is yet to file it. “The state has not filed any report till date,” justice Sinha said.
Gandhi on Thursday submitted documents and photographs showing the alleged violation of court orders regarding dumping of waste on mangrove land.
The court said that by January 20, the state should call for reports from different departments for an overall assessment on whether the directions are being implemented.
Gandhi had earlier argued that despite the court’s directions, mangroves in the Mahul Wadala sector, which is under the MMRDA are being destroyed.
The MMRDA however had refuted this, saying no damage had been caused to the mangroves, but acknowledged that that protection of open land from encroachment and dumping of debris is a major problem in the city.
“There is an urgent need to protect the fast-depleting mangrove cover,” the court had observed, adding that the destruction of mangroves so widespread that there are hardly any left.