An employee, holding an umbrella to shade him from the sun, supervises dumping at the Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s landfill site on the outskirts of New Delhi, India. (Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg News)

Supreme Court Asks Delhi LG To Set Up Committee To Tackle Solid Waste Issue

The Supreme Court said the problem of solid waste in Delhi is “very critical” and the cooperation of citizens was needed to deal with it, and asked the Lieutenant Governor to set up an experts committee to look into it.

A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur said this committee should go “in-depth” into all aspects relating to management of solid waste, including cleaning up of landfill sites at Ghazipur, Okhla and Bhalswa.

The bench, which also comprised Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta, said the panel should consist of experts, members of civil societies and resident welfare associations.

The court observed that as the issue was of considerable importance, the authorities should “not rush into taking a decision”, but analyse all aspects so that the problem of solid waste management in Delhi is taken care of to the satisfaction of all, particularly the residents.

“We expect that the decision will be collaborative,” the bench observed.

Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the office of LG, told the bench that she would discuss the matter with the LG and come back to the court within a week.

The bench also asked senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, who is assisting the court as an amicus curiae, to suggest five names of persons from civil society and experts who could participate in the committee as members.

At the outset, Gonsalves referred to the affidavits filed by the civic agencies and said it has been said that Resident Welfare Associations were not accepting the proposal on segregation of waste. The RWAs had written to the LG on how segregation of waste could be done about a year ago,he said.

The counsel for South Delhi Municipal Corporation said they have filed an affidavit and if the amicus has to say something on it, he should file a reply.

The bench said the East Delhi Municipal Corporation has filed an affidavit in which they have spoken about funds, while the SDMC has said in some areas, they already have started segregating the waste.

The bench posted the matter for hearing on Aug. 27. The apex court had earlier said that Delhi was facing an “emergency situation” due to the mountains of garbage.

The issue of waste management had cropped up when the court was dealing with a tragic matter of 2015 in which it had taken cognisance of the death of a seven-year-old boy due to dengue. The victim had been allegedly denied treatment by five private hospitals here and his distraught parents had subsequently committed suicide