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Form panel on solid waste management: SC to Delhi L-G

Delhi generates 10,500 tonnes of garbage every day and about 40% of it lands in the city’s four dumpsites. As much as 300 tonnes remains uncollected.

delhi Updated: Aug 18, 2018 00:00 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi waste management,Supreme Court,Delhi waste
Birds fly above a landfill site at Ghazipur, in East Delhi. (PTI File Photo)

The Supreme Court asked Delhi’s lieutenant governor Anil Baijal on Friday to consider forming an expert committee to frame a policy on solid waste management in the national capital amid growing concern over garbage being dumped in the city .

A bench led by Justice MB Lokur told additional solicitor general (ASG) Pinky Anand that the committee should consist of officials from various civic bodies and also representatives of civil society and be mandated to recommend measures to deal with the city’s garbage problem.

ASG Anand agreed with the bench’s suggestion and said she would revert to the court on August 22.

According to justice Lokur, the committee should look into all aspects of solid waste management in Delhi, including cleaning of dumps in the Okhla neighbourhoood.

The court asked senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, assisting the bench in the matter, to nominate members from civil society. Anand cautioned against the nomination of too many members to the panel; the court , however,said the panel should be broad-based.

“Ad-hoc measures may not be enough.... In our opinion issue of solid waste management will need co-operation of all in Delhi,” the court said.

Delhi generates 10,500 tonnes of garbage every day and about 40% of it lands in the city’s four dumpsites. As much as 300 tonnes remains uncollected. Three of out of these four landfills have run out of space but there are no alternative sites available to dispose Delhi’s garbage, which is increasing by truckloads every day. It is estimated that Delhi will be generating 15,000 metric tonnes of garbage daily by 2021.

The bench is hearing a case related to garbage management in the Capital and has remarked about the mountains of garbage piling up in Delhi. The three civic bodies in the city have failed to impress the court with their suggestions on managing the mess.

A sanitation expert said the Delhi high court had also formed a similar committee last year, asking it to make strategy and set guidelines for implementation of solid waste management rules in the city.

“The committee had submitted its report this year but nothing much has been done on the ground. The problem is not the absence of rules or strategies on solid waste management but the lack of willingness among the civic agencies to enforce them. Unfortunately, not much has been done to ensure segregation of garbage at source, which is the first step under the solid waste management rules of 2016,” said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

At the last hearing, the top court was irked by East Delhi Municipal Corporation’s proposal to build a landfill in the residential colony of Sonia Vihar without consulting the local residents. Justice Lokur had wondered whether the civic agency would dump garbage in front of the lieutenant governor’s official residence or outside any house in the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) area where ministers and senior bureaucrats reside.

The court also referred to a recent study conducted by Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH) which concluded hat air pollution, not smoking, was a major factor behind lung cancer in India.

“Will there be any person alive in Delhi in such a situation? It is an emergency situation but your reaction does not reflect the emergency,” Justice Lokur said.

Anand admitted there was a problem, but said it was not possible to resolve it overnight. She said south and north Delhi municipal corporations had decided to set up new waste-to-energy plants and enhance the capacity of existing plants to increase garbage processing. She said the new units would start operating from December next year.

The court also noted that only 50% of 3,600 tonnes of garbage generated everyday in south Delhi is processed and 1,800 tonnes was thrown on a landfill site on a daily basis. It asked the government to spell out plans for management of solid household waste. The court said people should be punished for not segregating recyclable waste from solid waste and a penalty should be imposed on them.

First Published: Aug 18, 2018 00:00 IST