Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (February 27, 2020)

Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal
Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (February 27, 2020)

Waste management in Varanasi

An oversight committee report on the management of solid and bio-medical waste as well as sewage treatment plants (STPs) in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh was made public on February 27, 2020.

The report proposed that a new ‘waste-to-energy’ plant be installed to mitigate the pollution caused by municipal solid waste (MSW) in the city of Varanasi. It also recommended that untapped drains discharging directly into the Varuna river (a minor tributary of the Ganga) in the form of liquid waste should be stopped.

It suggested that the treated sewage of each and every STP be utilised for irrigation and dust suppression after achieving the prescribed standards.

Waste treatment in Uttar Pradesh

Waste treatment and disposal was lagging in Uttar Pradesh, according to the report of the oversight committee constituted by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) through its order of October 21, 2019.

The total solid waste generation of Uttar Pradesh was 17,377 TPD while the quantity of collected solid waste was 17,329 TPD, the report found. Twelve MSW treatment and disposal facilities are currently operational in the state, with a cumulative treatment capacity of 4,615 TPD, it added.

Twenty plants with a treatment capacity of 4,155 TPD were either lying closed or the construction had been stopped due to the fact that the projects were under arbitration or litigation in Uttar Pradesh, the committee found.

The target of achieving 100 per cent source segregation was still not being done in the majority of the state's 652 local bodies, with a few exceptions.

The committee recommended that the state needed to develop a mechanism for segregation of solid waste into various components, namely, bio-degradable, non-bio-degradable including recyclable waste, non-recyclable waste, construction and demolition waste according to solid waste rules.

Rules regarding master plans of the cities to earmark places for setting up of solid waste processing and disposal facilities had still not been put in place effectively according to the report.

Sand mining in Uttar Pradesh

The district magistrate of Bulandshahr and the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board submitted a compliance report to the NGT on illegal sand mining in the Ganga in  the Dibai tehsil. The report was in pursuance to the NGT order in Original Application No. 895/2019 in the matter of Arvind Prabhat, Editor-in-chief of News India 9 Vs State of Uttar Pradesh.

Sand was being mined by using semi-mechanised methods at Unchagaon Khadar in the tehsil during an inspection on November 23, 2019.

Sand-filling vehicles were found covered with plastic sheets. Water was sprinkled on transport routes and no vehicle was found to be emitting dust at high speed.

Medical colleges in Salem

An action-taken report was filed by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board in the matter of Trustee, Environment Protection and Anti Pollution Group Trust Vs State of Tamil Nadu & Others regarding private medical colleges in Tamil Nadu's Salem district.

The colleges were operating without obtaining environmental clearance in accordance with the EIA Notification, 2006 as amended.

It was also alleged that private medical colleges were discharging sewage and effluents without proper treatment into public sewers and open channels.

The report mentioned that the state PCB had taken necessary action against two erring medical colleges located in the district for the violations. No environmental violations had been found in respect of the remaining six medical colleges.

Hot mix plant in Gurdaspur

An interim report was filed by the Punjab Pollution Control Board in compliance of the NGT order of October 14, 2019, regarding pollution due to the operation of a hot mix plant in Khojepur village in Punjab‘

s Gurdaspur district.

The report stated that the hot mix plant was not in operation but the conditions at the site indicated that the plant has been commissioned. Raw material was also found stored at the site. The plant can be operated at any time as a diesel generator set was also found lying at the site.

The industry had planted only one row of trees along its boundary instead of “three rows of spreading crown and fast-growing varieties of ever green broad-leaved trees all along with its boundary.” 

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