Noting that proper functioning of waste-to-energy plant would serve public interest, which must prevail over “little inconvenience”, the National Green Tribunal has advised citizens to overcome “mental block” that there cannot be a compost yard in the neighbourhood.
The tribunal said that efforts should be made to protect the environment which is the fundamental duty of citizens and other stakeholders and the fundamental right to have a decent and clean environment as mandated under the Constitution can be achieved by protecting the environment and not by opposing the plant’s operation.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar made the observations in its recent judgement allowing operation of Okhla waste-to-energy plant, saying it is now non-polluting.
The tribunal said if any inconvenience is caused to the Sukhdev Vihar residents, who had filed a petition to shut down the plant, they must give way to larger public interest of handling and processing of municipal solid waste (MSW) in Delhi.
It, however, made it clear that the plant should comply with all enrivonmental rules and regulations and not cause any injury to public health or environment.
“As of present, it appears to be the only plausible solution when the influx of population is increasing day by day,” it said.
“Public at large has to overcome the mental block that there cannot be compost yard or waste-to-energy plant in the neighbourhood of their residential area,” it said, adding that the plant owner has to adhere to the prescribed standards and to make it pollution-free.
The bench said the concept of ‘not in my backyard’ has to be subservient to processing of waste in public interest and it has to be been seen what is the best possible way of handling and processing such huge quantity of waste generated by the residents of Delhi.
“They (local authorites) need to tackle this huge problem with utmost sense of sincerity and objectivity. Similarly, the public at large should not propagate the principle of ‘not in my backyard’ that too founded on no scientific data but only on mere apprehensions,” it said.