Court Digest: Major environment hearings of the week (February 23-28, 2020)

Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal through the week; ;
Court Digest: Major environment hearings of the week (February 23-28, 2020)

Environmental norms at military stations

A status report was filed by the defence ministry on environmental norms in cantonments and military stations in India in OA No. 451/2019 in the application filed by Air Marshal Anil Chopra in the National Green Tribunal’s  (NGT) December 5, 2019 order.

The issues raised in the application — environment issues and waste management vis-a-vis armed forces; Siachen glacier ecological issues; and cantonment and military stations.

The report mentioned that in a meeting held by the joint secretary (land & works) on November 21, 2019, it was decided to forward the draft Solid Waste Management Bye-Laws in respect of Delhi cantonment board to the remaining boards as a model.

The cantonment boards have implemented door-to-door garbage collection and disposal of domestic waste, in compliance with solid waste management rules.

Each military station/cantonment has earmarked one central place for landfills where non bio-degradable waste could be dumped.

As trial measures, bio-digestors for disposal of human excrete have been installed in selected posts in Siachen glacier and transit camps at Leh, Patseo, Karu, Sarchoo, Pang and Partapur. Same are now being replicated at all posts.

Environmental project capacity at Tamnar and Gharghoda

A 32-page preliminary investigation report on the carrying capacity for polluting projects and allied issues in Tamnar and Gharghoda blocks of Raigarh district, Chhattisgarh, was made public on Februry 26, 2020, on the NGT website. The report was in response to the NGT order of July 22, 2019, in the matter of Shivpal Bhagat & Others Vs Union of India & Others.

According to the report, the overall fly ash generation in Raigarh district was 6,628,283 TPA. Of this, around 97 per cent was reported as being utilised. Utilisation by the way of backfilling to mine was 24 per cent; in low-lying areas was 27 per cent; and that in brick manufacturing was five per cent.

Environmental impact included air pollution due to coal mining, comprising fly ash backfilling, thermal power plants, coal washeries, sponge iron and steel plants and road transport of coal.

Brick kilns in Uttar Pradesh

Action-taken report on brick kilns in Uttar Pradesh, pursuant to the NGT order of November 26, 2019 looked at the status of 525 brick kilns. Around 476 brick kilns were established prior to June 27, 2012 and 49 brick kilns after that. Guidelines of Uttar Pradesh Brick Kilns (Siting Criteria for Establishment) Rules, 2012, became applicable after June 27, 2012. Out of 525 brick kilns, 328 had valid consent.

Ambient air quality monitoring was done at different places in Baghpat. Air pollution was higher than normal. The report noted that the number of brick kilns was quite high in Bagphat.

The report recommended that no new brick kilns should be allowed in the district and no license be given by zila panchayat, district mining officer and the revenue department.

Waste treatment in Uttar Pradesh

Waste treatment and disposal lagged in Uttar Pradesh, according to NGT’s oversight committee report 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 tonnes per day (TPD) were either lying closed or the construction had been stopped as projects were under arbitration or litigation.

The target of achieving 100 per cent source segregation was not 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 –bio-degradable, non-bio-degradable and demolition waste.

Mining of heavy minerals in Kerala

A 67-page report was uploaded on the NGT site on February 24, 2020 on the matter of illegal mining of heavy minerals. It was carried out by M/s Indian Rare Earths Ltd and M/s Kerala Minerals & Metals Limited (KMML) along the coastal area of Alappad and Chavara in Kerala’s Kollam district.

The report contained the minutes of the meeting that the chairman of Kerala state PCB had convened on August 2019.

The aim was to fix problems in recovering mineral resources without causing further environmental damage.

In the meeting, it was decided that plans and proposals be made to mine offshore minerals and rebuild the beach using reject sand.

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