The Supreme Court has favoured taking views of expert bodies like the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute in deciding an NGO's plea against the expansion of the Kanjurmarg dumping ground on a contention that the area was a part of the eco-sensitive zone of Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary.
A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant disposed of a plea by NGO Vanashakti, represented by senior advocate Anitha Shenoy, against a Bombay High Court order of December 5, 2019, declining to stay the facility for treatment of municipal solid waste.
The bench, however, said, “We are of the view that the interest of justice would be best served if the High Court dispose of the matter pending before it, as expeditiously as possible, preferably within a period of three months from today.”
Shenoy contended that the Bio Reactor Technology project in an Ecologically Sensitive Zone (ESZ) of the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary was contrary to the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 as well as the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017 and the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and others and senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing the contractor opposed the plea by the NGO. They maintained that any reduction in the capacity of the Kanjur site would have an adverse effect on the entire solid waste disposal scenario of Mumbai and in turn will cause serious health hazards for the citizens living over there.
The Bombay HC had declined to stay the environmental clearance granted to the municipal solid waste facility saying the overriding public interest and concerns of public health and safety demanded that the huge waste and garbage generated in Mumbai city and suburbs was collected and treated daily. Any obstacle or hurdle in treatment of the same at a plant or facility specifically set up for it would be hazardous. In fact, untreated waste and garbage was detrimental to public health, it said.