New Delhi, Feb 14 Chief Justice S.A. Bobde on Friday expressed concern over the extinction of flamingos, saying if they were to disappear, then they might not return. Taking this observation, the Supreme Court asked the Bombay High Court to decide in three months on a PIL against expansion of Kanjurmarg dumping ground in Mumbai, which is situated merely 900 meters away from the boundary of the Thane Flamingo Creek Sanctuary.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Bobde and comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and Suryakant asked for a joint study by Bombay Natural History Society and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, on this matter. "We are equally concerned about the flamingos. They will disappear from there. Once they go away, they will never return. You have no power over nature", said the Chief Justice. NGO Vanshakti has stated the area is a part of eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary.
The NGO claimed the Municipal Council of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) had violated various environmental norms in granting the environmental clearance (EC) for the Kanjurmarg solid waste processing and disposal facility (Kanjurmarg landfill), and thus, the petitioner had demonstrated a good prima facie case.
"The bio-reactor technology is being used by the Respondent MCGM and contractor, without any prior environmental impact assessment, without prior testing and without prior inspection/certification by the various authorities, and thus had a potential of cause irreparable harm to the environment", said the NGO in its petition.
The NGO moved the top court challenging the December 2019 order of the Bombay High Court, which erroneously vacated the ad-interim order granting stay on enforcement of EC on October 28, 2019.
The Chief Justice, in a remark to the MCGM counsel, said "you do not know what is the situation in Mumbai?....where the waste is being dumped, we need a solution." The Chief Justice also observed Bombay Natural History Society is an excellent environmental group, and it could examine the issues with the dumping of the waste.
The plea contended the expansion of the landfill can be undertaken on any other site which is not a highly sensitive coastal regulation zone (CRZ) area comprising of mangroves, creeks and various species of birds, and would not result in grave violation of the existing environmental laws.
"A highly polluting project such as the Kanjurmarg landfill within close proximity of a sanctuary is causing severe degradation of the sanctuary. This is highly damaging to the flora and fauna in the sanctuary including the migratory flamingos," said the plea.
( With inputs from IANS )