HC allows BMC to continue dumping trash at Deonar
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday allowed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to continue dumping trash at Deonar, after the civic body informed the court that a plant will soon be set up at the dumping ground to convert 3,000 tonnes of solid waste into energy every day.
The HC was hearing a plea filed by BMC, seeking an extension of the court’s December 31, 2019 deadline to stop dumping trash at Deonar as the site does not adhere to Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules. The HC had then said that no further extension would be granted to the civic body under any circumstances.
However, BMC on Tuesday filed a fresh plea, seeking a further extension of the deadline for two years. Its counsel, senior advocate Anil Sakhare, said measures taken by the civic body helped reduce municipal solid waste taken to dumping sites from 8,509 tonnes a day in 2015, to 6,782 tonnes a day in 2019. Sakhare also submitted that BMC plans to set up a plant at Deonar to convert 3,000 metric tonnes of solid waste into energy every day. He said the tender for the plant had been finalised and the final approval of the standing committee was likely on Thursday. The contractor will require at least three years to set up the plant and make it functional, Sakhare told the court.
A division bench of justices SC Dharmadhikari and RI Chagla allowed BMC’s plea. The judges said that although the Environment Protection Act and the Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules require solid waste to be treated properly and disposed scientifically, no time limit can be laid down for implementation of the rules as collection and disposal of municipal solid waste in metro cities is a humongous task. The bench said that on certain occasions, it’s beyond the control of the local body to comply with the requirements. “We are mindful of the ground reality,” said the bench.
The court has now posted the plea for further hearing on June 22, and has directed BMC to file an affidavit disclosing how they plan to further reduce the quantity of solid waste taken to dumping grounds and the status of the proposed waste-to-energy plant at Deonar.
The court had in April 2013 ordered that dumping should be stopped at Mulund and Deonar dumpyards from July 2013, but the deadline was later extended by a year in November 2014. Although the dumping ground at Mulund was shut, the civic body continued to dump trash at Deonar after obtaining multiple extensions from the HC.