Travel beyond politics to end the ‘horrible’ problem of untreated waste in Delhi, says SC

The court indicated that it intends to make the Centre involved in finding a solution to the health problem plaguing the capital for years

Updated - May 13, 2024 10:06 pm IST

Published - May 13, 2024 05:16 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A man stands on top of Ghazipur Landfill Site at Ghazipur in New Delhi. File.

A man stands on top of Ghazipur Landfill Site at Ghazipur in New Delhi. File. | Photo Credit: Shashi Shekhar Kashyap

The Supreme Court on May 13 said a solution to the “horrible” problem of 3,800 metric tonnes of municipal solid waste piled up untreated every day in the national capital could be found only by travelling beyond the confines of party politics.

“This is a vital issue for the capital city. What is the signal that is being sent to the people living in the city? And we talk about development! You (governments) should travel beyond politics,” Justice A.S. Oka, heading a two-judge Bench, admonished.

The Bench made its dissatisfaction apparent about the manner in which the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) had been handling the issue.

The MCD informed the court that it would have waste treatment plants capable of handling 3,800 metric tonnes of solid waste only by June 2027.

“This means that 3,800 metric tonnes of solid waste will be accumulating for the next three years in parts of Delhi… This is a sorry state of affairs in the capital city and poses a great danger to the environment. None of the authorities have considered the outcome of lack of capacity to deal with solid waste generated every day.,” the Bench observed.

The court pulled up the MCD and other authorities for not realising that, considering the developmental activities taking place in Delhi and surrounding areas, it was “obvious that generation of solid waste was bound to increase”. The Bench said the authorities were ill-prepared to face the problem.

The court directed the civic authorities to take immediate steps to ensure that the amount of untreated solid waste did not increase till proper facilities were in place in Delhi.

The court indicated that it intends to involve the Centre in finding a solution to the health problem plaguing the capital for years. The accumulation of untreated solid waste was a health hazard and a violation of the fundamental right to a dignified life and clean environment under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The court directed the Urban Affairs Secretary to hold a meeting with all the stakeholders and file a report by July 19. “The Government of India should look into it. We are passing that order,” Justice Oka said.

It warned drastic action would follow if its order was not complied with. The court listed the case for hearing on July 26.

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