The remarks by Justice Oka came close on the heels of reports that the Maharashtra government was mulling to come out with an ordinance to insulate the Dahi Handi and the Ganeshotsav celebrations in the state from the ambit of laws governing sound pollution.
"There is a race among our politicians on how to break the laws on sound pollution," Justice Oka said while speaking at the annual congregation of mountaineers, the Girimitra Sammelan, here.
Justice Oka, however, refused to comment further on the issue saying he is at present presiding over a matter concerning sound pollution.
A group of Dahi Handi organisers who recently approached the apex court for relief on the rules, met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis last week, after which reports of government mulling an ordinance route came out.
BJP's Mumbai unit chief Ashish Shelar had gone public with the intent of the Maharashtra government. "We will bring an ordinance if the Supreme Court does not pass any order till Dahi Handi," he had reportedly said.
Justice Oka said there is pollution all around in every facet of the natural world, and he feels "entangled" by it now.
"An extremely painful picture ... Post independence, the process of environmental degradation has started and I feel now it has touched its nadir," he said, speaking to an audience comprising of mountaineers.
"The concept of development has acquired a new meaning where constructing buildings using floor space index (FSI) is getting entrenched and it is environment which is the biggest victim of this," he added.
Questioning if we are becoming "enemies" of environment, Justice Oka termed environmental degradation as the "biggest challenge of our times."
Justice Oka said after perusing some papers recently, he found out that the critical mangrove cover of the suburb of Mumbra has depleted by 50 per cent in last decade alone.
Stating that Indians have been found to take care of environmental concerns if religious side is attached, Justice Oka suggested that time has come to treat our rivers, water bodies, mountains and mangroves as "gods" to ensure their protection.
He also exhorted mountaineers to launch a public campaign for defence of environment and network among themselves for a united fight.