“Just because underprivileged persons are staying there (in Sonia Vihar) does not mean you can dump garbage in front of their houses. Try dumping it outside (L-G’s residence) Raj Niwas or in this area (NDMC ).” This remark was made by the Supreme Court on Monday, while expressing displeasure on learning that the East Delhi Municipal Corporation had identified a dumping site in Sonia Vihar, allegedly without seeking views from residents.
The court also noted that garbage segregation must begin at the household level, and suggested imposing fines to ensure compliance. A bench of Justice M B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta noted that Delhi generates 3,600 tonnes of solid waste every day and the city was facing an “emergency situation” as a result.
“We are in an emergency situation and unfortunately, your response is not. As per a hospital report, 50 per cent of Delhi citizens are susceptible to lung cancer even without smoking. NITI Aayog report says Delhi will have no water by 2020. So 50 per cent of citizens will leave because of this,” observed Justice Lokur.
“Make it the responsibility of the householder to segregate waste at the household level. At least those living in affluent colonies must do so, and those who do not should be fined. It has to be a collective responsibility,” Justice Gupta said. “If someone pulls down his house, he must pay for removing the debris.”
Justice Lokur said the proposal to build a thermal power plant by December 2019 in south Delhi would not fetch any benefits as additional garbage of 7,00,000 tonnes would have been generated by then.
On the Sonia Vihar dumping site, the court added that there was no point in shifting waste from one place to another.
Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves said that garbage management was a business in Delhi and the corporation had purposely kept ragpickers away from the process of segregation. He accused the civic body of resisting segregation at the level of RWAs. The court asked ASG Pinky Anand to provide details of the pilot project initiated in south Delhi areas on garbage segregation, fixing the next date of hearing on August 17.