The top court said that days are not far when garbage mounds at the Ghazipur landfill site in Delhi will match the height of iconic 73-metre high Qutub Minar and red beacon light will have to be used to ward off aircraft.
"We keep on passing orders but solid waste management rules are not implemented. What is the use of passing the orders when no one is bothered to implement it. India will go down under the garbage one day," a bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said.
It said, "Garbage mounds at the Ghazipur landfill site will one day touch the height of Qutub Minar and red beacon light will have to be used to ward off the aircraft".
The top court also asked all the states and union territories to frame a policy for disposal of solid waste in three months.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, assisting the court as an amicus curiae, said the court should direct all local bodies in the country to implement the solid waste management rules in 3-4 months and if they failed to do so they can be held for contempt.
He said solid waste management rules are very elaborate and comprehensive and Delhi has already implemented it.
Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni said "garbage mounds are like a time bomb which we are sitting upon and the court should direct the local bodies to implement the rules".
The court then directed the secretaries of the urban development ministry in Haryana, Jharkhand, Manipur and Meghalaya to appear on the next date of hearing and apprise it about the implementation of rules.
The bench posted the matter for further hearing in second week of July.
The bench was hearing a matter related to implementation of Solid Waste Management Rules 2016 across the country.
On February 6, the top court had warned the centre for dumping "junk" before it in an 845-page affidavit containing incomplete information about solid waste management in the country, saying the court is not a "garbage collector".
It had declined to take the affidavit on record and observed the government cannot dump junk before it and there was no point in filing an affidavit if it contained "nothing".
The court had on December 12 last year asked the centre to follow up on the matter of solid waste management with all states and UTs and furnish details before it.
The court had earlier expressed grave concern over the deaths due to vector-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya and said that lack of waste management was the cause of several lives being lost across the country.
In 2015, the top court had on its own taken cognisance of death of a seven-year-old boy due to dengue. He had been allegedly denied treatment by five private hospitals and his distraught parents subsequently committed suicide.