Why can't a city like Bengaluru make electricity from garbage when countries like Norway are importing waste and generating power, the High Court of Karnataka has asked.
Acting Chief Justice H G Ramesh made the oral observations on Monday while hearing a public interest litigation on the maintenance of stormwater drains in the city.
The petition urged the court to order the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to maintain separate drainage for sewage lines and stormwater drains.
The petitioner argued that unchecked sewage discharge, encroachments and consequent clogging had put stormwater drains in a dismal condition, resulting in a serious health hazard. A stormwater drain is meant for storing rainwater, not as a dumping ground for sewage, the petitioner said and urged the court to order the BBMP and the BWSSB to ensure the regular maintenance and desilting of stormwater drains, set up wastewater treatment plants to treat water before it is discharged into lakes and ensure that sewage does not enter waterbodies.
A division bench of the acting chief justice and Justice P S Dinesh Kumar directed the BBMP and the BWSSB to form an expert committee to guide them in formulating a strategy for maintenance of stormwater drains. The committee should consist of technical experts, experts from the Indian Institute of Science, government officials and citizens, the bench ruled. It also observed that the poor state of stormwater drains was a Himalayan problem.
The counsel for the BWSSB said the 18 sewage treatment plants in the city were treating one thousand million litres of sewage water every day.
The bench asked the respondents to suggest names for the high-powered committee at the next hearing. It also asked the BBMP to inform the court if it had received any proposal from anyone for transforming garbage into electricity. The matter will be heard again on Wednesday.