Court digest: Major environment hearings of the week (April 22-26)

Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal
Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Gurgaon has about 25 lakh tonnes of legacy waste

The National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice K Ramakrishnan on April 23 expressed its displeasure at the "incapacity, incompetence and unwillingness of the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon to perform its duty to handle solid waste in a scientific manner" and noted that the case has been pending for the last four years with the local authorities not doing their jobs. The tribunal directed the state chief secretary to take action against officers handling the issue and submit an action report.  Applicant Vivek Kamboj had said solid waste is being dumped in Aravali forest and leachate generated was flowing into water bodies. A joint committee of the Central Pollution Control Board has sought time but it mentions that the status of existing landfill site is unsatisfactory and that the legacy waste is about 25 lakhs tonnes.

SC permits felling of 202 trees in Perumalai Forest for road

A two-member bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Deepak Gupta of the Supreme Court on April 22 granted permission for removal of 202 trees in the Perumalai Reserve Forest at Lingavadai village in Natham taluk, Dindigul district from L Malaiyur Forest Road up to Rajakadu to lay a road.

The permission was granted subject to the fulfillment of conditions as per the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) report which included approval to be obtained under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and the conditions on which such approval has been granted be fully complied with including payment of Net Present Value and compensatory afforestation be undertaken in the non-forest area identified for the purpose. Further, the SC ordered that a six-monthly report be submitted to the CEC with respect to plantation and its rate of survival and growth of newly planted trees. The first report should be submitted within six months, thereafter, in every six months, it has to be submitted to the CEC for a period of five years.

Remedial measures must be implemented to control Ganga pollution: NGT

The NGT on April 22 said there was an urgent need to restore work for treatment of sewage water stored in pools, remediation work for drains and solid waste processing post Kumbh Mela. The report received from Justice Arun Tandon, chairman of the supervisory committee, states a large number of toilets have been constructed in various camps on the Arail side very close to river Ganga. Sewage received at the Rajapur STP was in excess of installed capacity. Only 50 per cent of Rajapur drain was being treated through geo tube and the remaining was being permitted to enter river Ganga without treatment.

More needs to be done to ensure sustainable development: NGT to Tamil Nadu

A compliance report was submitted before the NGT on April 23 by Tamil Nadu indicating the steps taken for solid waste management, Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016, Bio-medical Waste Management Rules 2016, polluted river stretches, polluted industrial clusters, air pollution and illegal mining. The report mentioned that wet waste was collected on daily basis and 93 per cent door-to-door collection was done and 80 per cent source segregation was practiced along with a total ban on one-time use and throwaway plastic from January 2019.

NGT says there was a huge gap in the steps taken and the steps required to be taken for ensuring sustainable development and directed the state that apart from cities and towns declared as model cities and towns, at least three villages in every district of the state be identified within two weeks and made fully compliant to environmental norms within six months. Further, estimate of value of environmental degradation and cost of restoration should be prepared and compensation planned and recovered from polluters for environmental restoration and restitution.

Compensation should include NPV: NGT on illegal mining in Pinjore

The NGT  on April 23, while hearing the case of illegal mining in Pinjore belt, ordered that compensation recovered has to meet the mandate of law and it should not only include the cost of mined material or royalty but must have element of deterrence so as to recover cost of Net Present Value (NPV) of environmental services forgone forever and the cost of restoration.  Further, the vehicles involved in illegal mining should be confiscated and released only after recovery of at least 50 per cent of the showroom value of such vehicles.

TSDF facility violating environmental norms in Karnataka: NGT asks for a report

On April 22, the NGT was hearing a case which was transferred from the Karnataka high court on the violation of environmental norms by M/s Ramky Enviro Engineers Ltd and M/s Ramky Infrastructure Ltd while operating Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF). The petitioners wanted the working of TSDF to be audited and be ensured about deposit of funds by the service provider. Further, it was alleged that the environmental clearance, as required, has not been taken nor post establishment preventive and remedial steps taken to comply with the requirement of Air Act 1981, Water Act 1974 and the Environment Act 1986.

The NGT directed a factual analysis report to be submitted by a joint committee comprising the representatives of the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) within a period of two months.

STP at Supertech Eco city not working properly

A case of non-functioning of STP at Supertech Eco city, Noida filed by the Ecociti GOWO Members Welfare Association came up for hearing on April 25 before the NGT. It was alleged that sewage is being disposed of without treatment into the drains. The tribunal directed the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) to look into the matter and submit an action report within two months.

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