SC says garbage pile-up at Delhi landfills alarming

New Delhi, Oct 21 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday dubbed as “alarming” the pile-up of garbage up to 45 metres at Delhi’s landfills in Okhla, Ghazipur and Bhalsawa and called for urgent steps to redress the problem.

“It is a very alarming issue. 45-metres of garbage is alarming. How has it come to such a height,” Justice Madan B. Lokur asked as Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told a bench comprising him and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel that garbage dumps at the three landfill sites had gone up to 45 metres in height.

During the course of the hearing, the apex court directed that a meeting be held of the three Municipal Commissioners and Delhi Health Secretary with the Chief Secretary to address the question of solid waste management.

The Solicitor General appeared for the Delhi Health Secretary and three civic bodies.

Senior counsel Colin Gonsalves, amicus curiae in the matter, also described the situation as “very serious”.

The point is what is to be done to deal with the disposal of solid waste, the bench asked as the Solicitor General told the court that everyday 10,000 tonnes of solid waste is generated in Delhi and only 50 per cent is used for generating electricity.

The power plant at Okhla is generating 16 megawatt of power every day and uses about 5,000 tonnes of solid waste. Work is underway to increase its generation capacity to 19 MW through use of another 200 tonnes of garbage, Kumar told the court.

The Delhi government counsel said the only solution was segregating garbage at the source point itself. He tried to put the onus on clearing of the garbage on three civic bodies — North, South and Central Delhi Municipal Corporations — which are controlled by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The counsel said the MLAs who get annual funds of Rs 4 crore each contribute a lot in meeting the needs of the people relating to roads, lights and other amenities.

Justice Lokur said MLAs too should contribute to dealing with the situation.

“Instead of increasing their salaries, they must educate people,” Justice Lokur remarked.

Perusing a report submitted by the Solicitor General, Justice Lokur said: “You are only reacting to the situation. Where is your plan for the future? You can’t react to a situation, you have to prepare for it. Your air is becoming pretty bad due to burning of (paddy/wheat) straw.”

The court said the state machinery should be geared to meet any situation, adding that chikungunya and dengue cases were on the decline but the bird/avian flu cases were being reported.

Why has the one-point grievance redress system not been put in place, the court asked.

The Solicitor General assured that work in this direction was in progress. He said administrative and other reasons delayed the setting up of the redress system.

The court is hearing the steps to be taken to galvanise official machinery to deal with chikungunya and dengue in the national Capital.