Assess impact of junkyard expansion on flamingos: HC

Winged visitors: Thane creek, which is a haven for flamingos, is near the solid waste treatment plant at Kanjurmarg.   | Photo Credit: Aadesh Choudhari

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed two expert bodies — the National Environmental Engineering and Research Institute (NEERI) and the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) — to assess the impact of the solid waste treatment plant at Kanjurmarg on the nearby Thane creek which is home to flamingos. They have been asked to submit a report in two weeks.

A Division Bench of acting Chief Justice B.P. Dharmadhikari and Justice N.R. Borkar was hearing a petition filed by NGO Vanshakti challenging the validity of the environment clearance that was granted to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to expand its solid waste treatment plant from its current 65 hectares to 121 hectares.

Vanshakti had contended that the expansion of the facility violated the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification of 2011 which prohibited setting up new or expanding existing solid waste treatment plants in CRZ areas, and also violated the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017, and provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act. The notification also called for setting up of solid waste treatment plants outside CRZ areas.

On September 19, 2019, a Bench of HC had stayed the environment clearance to BMC granted in October 2018 and had accepted the petitioners’ contention that SC had ordered declaration of 10-km around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries as eco-sensitive zones. However, in December 2019 another Bench had lifted the stay stating that the site at Kanjurmarg was the only place where solid waste from the city was being treated scientifically.

Vanshakti then moved SC against this order. On February 14 this year SC referred the issue back to HC asking it to reconsider and decide on the PIL quickly observing that a report from an expert body would be appropriate before taking a final decision.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 6:29:12 AM |

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