The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Bombay High Court to expeditiously decide a plea of an environment group against expansion of the Kanjurmarg landfill site near Mumbai on the ground that it was part of the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary.
The apex court was hearing the appeal of environment group 'Vanashakti' against the high court's order of December 6, 2019, by which the earlier stay granted on the environmental clearance (EC) for the expansion of the landfill site was vacated.
"Having heard counsel for the parties at length, we are of the view that the interest of justice would be best served if the high court dispose of the matter pending before it, as expeditiously as possible, preferably within a period of three months from today. Order accordingly," said the bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant.
"We also consider it appropriate if the high court obtain the report of an expert body like Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) before taking a final decision," it said while disposing off the appeal of 'Vanashakti'.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for one of the parties that have been granted environmental clearance for expansion of the landfill site, said, "Four times environmental clearances have been granted to us and each time a plea is filed against it. We do not only dump the waste, we treat them as well."
"Do you (environment group) know the amount of waste generated by Mumbai each day...the city generates almost 7,000 tonnes of waste daily," the bench said when the counsel for the environment group vehemently sought a stay on the expansion of the landfill site.
Initially, the Bombay High Court stayed the expansion of the Kanjurmarg dumping ground. Later, it vacated the stay granted on the environmental clearance for the expansion of the landfill site.
The expansion of the site was needed for operating an integrated scientific solid waste management system and after the grant of environmental clearances 52 hectares more were added to the ladfill site, which was of 65 hectares area earlier.
The state government had allotted the civic body over 141 hectares for waste management as an alternative to the former Chincholi Bunder landfill and the Deonar dump, which are scheduled to be closed.
The environment group alleged that the area was part of ESZ of the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary and the environmental clearance for expansion of the site would disturb the ecological balance of the area.