High court stays expansion of Kanjurmarg dumping ground in Mumbai
The court is hearing a petition by environment group Vanashakti from July 2019 that sought a stay on the expansion of the dump saying that mangroves and inter-tidal areas around the sanctuary will be damaged.Updated: Sep 21, 2019 05:38 IST
The Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday directed a stay on the expansion of the Kanjurmarg dumping ground, after a petition stated that the area was a part of the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which manages the dump, was given an environment clearance (EC) by the Union environment ministry in October last year, to expand the 65.96 hectare (ha) dumping ground and use additional 52.5 ha falling on Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) areas using new waste disposal mechanism.
The HC bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice Bharati Dangre has stayed the expansion of the dump and has directed that notices be served to the BMC, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), various other bodies of the Maharashtra government and the Centre.The agencies have been asked to submit responses and the matter will be heard after six weeks from Thursday (October 31).
The court is hearing a petition by environment group Vanashakti from July 2019 that sought a stay on the expansion of the dump saying that mangroves and inter-tidal areas around the sanctuary will be damaged.
The bench noted that the Supreme Court in 2003 ordered that 141.77 ha, including the two parcels, be used as a dumping ground at Kanjurmarg after MPCB’s decision to close the dumping site at Chincholi Bunder.
The stay order issued by the court on Thursday and published on Friday says: “In view of the order dated November 21, 2003, passed by the SC…and the averments made in the public interest litigation (by Vanashakti), we stay the operation of the impugned notification dated October 29, 2018 (EC).”
“The HC order is encouraging as this dumping ground is literally zero metres away from a protected wildlife sanctuary,” said Zaman Ali, counsel for the petioner.
The BMC said the HC had issued the stay without giving them enough time to submit their responses. “Permissions from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) and the environment ministry were issued only because the site lies in CRZ III, which permits construction after first 100 m from the high tide line. Also, waste from all CRZ areas in the city would be taken to this 52.6 ha patch for scientific processing reducing the impact on overburdened landfills,” said a BMC official working on the case, requesting anonymity as the matter is sub judice. “Following the stay, we have no option but to send excess waste to Deonar.”
According to the BMC, Mumbai generates 7,000 metric tons (MT) of waste per day, of which 5,500 MT is sent to Kanjurmarg while 1,500 MT is going to Deonar.
“The site in question is CRZ I as it gets inundated with tide water regularly, and requires highest protection,” said Stalin D, director Vanashakti. “There is no study done to say the land is CRZ III. It is an adversary classification by BMC. Mismanagement of waste is leading to hazardous conditions with leachate being leaked into the creek.”