In Court

Monday 15 March 2004

decibel control: The Supreme Court (SC) has told the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to submit a comprehensive list of measures to control noise pollution. On the basis of these suggestions, the apex court will deliver its final verdict in the case filed against the Delhi government and Central Pollution Control Board. The matter deals with implementation of laws on curbing noise created by firecrackers, loudspeakers, diesel generators, etc.

During the hearing, it was contended that the ban on the use of loudspeakers after 10 pm should be extended to musical instruments such as drums. Another suggestion was to limit the amount of explosives in firecrackers. But manufacturers say it would be impossible for them to check the noise level in each batch, considering the fact that crackers are produced on such a large scale. Once the SC passes the final order, existing legislations like Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, and the Environment Protection Act, 1986, might have to be amended.

serious setback: A London high court, in a split verdict, decided not to halt the construction of a controversial hydroelectric dam in the rainforests of Belize, Central America. The case was filed by some environmental groups and members of the industry against the Belize government's hasty clearance of the 50-metre dam. The Canadian company Fortis Incorporated had backed the construction of the structure.

The majority of the judges acknowledged that the dam would flood an area that is said to be "one of the most biologically rich and diverse regions remaining in Central America". Several endangered species are found in the area. The dissenting judges censured Fortis and the Belize authorities for failing to disclose to the courts vital facts about the project. They observed that the dam approval violated the law of the land and should be overturned. Yet the final verdict upheld the Belizean government's decision.

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