Supreme Court Expresses Shock Over Delhi's Rising Solid Waste Crisis


In a scathing critique of the deteriorating state of solid waste management in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), the Supreme Court expressed shock and dismay at the indifference displayed by authorities towards addressing the escalating crisis. A Bench comprising Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan highlighted the urgency of the situation, stressing that the capital's reputation was at stake.

"This is the capital city. What will the whole world say? Tell us what you will do about the situation now... Nobody is bothered," remarked the Bench, underscoring the gravity of the issue.

The Court emphasized that the unchecked accumulation of untreated solid waste directly infringed upon the fundamental right to a clean environment as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution.

"We emphasize that it directly affects the fundamental rights of citizens under Article 21 to live in a pollution-free environment," the Bench reiterated.

Expressing concern over the projected escalation of untreated waste, the Court demanded urgent action to prevent the situation from worsening. It directed the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and municipal bodies of the NCR to convene a meeting to devise a concrete solution to tackle the rising levels of untreated solid waste.

"We hope and trust authorities take the issue with great seriousness as prima facie we find that they have not considered the consequences of untreated solid waste generated daily," the Court stated.

The Bench also warned that if no concrete solution is presented by July 19, it would not hesitate to pass drastic orders.

The Court's stern stance comes in the backdrop of the city's staggering production of solid waste, which exceeds its processing capacity by around 3,000 tonnes every day. Despite assurances from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) regarding capacity expansion within three years, the Court criticized the lack of urgency and demanded immediate action to address the crisis.

The Court's intervention underscores the pressing need for effective waste management strategies to safeguard public health and environmental well-being, particularly in urban centers like Delhi. 

Author: Anushka Taraniya

News Writer, MIT ADT University