Court digest: Major environment hearings of the week (July 8-12)

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

By DTE Staff
Published: Saturday 13 July 2019

Industries pollute groundwater

The National Green Tribunal on July 9, 2019 asked the Central Pollution Control Board and the Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board, Uttarakhand, to take action against industries in ELDECO SIDCUL Industrial Park, Sitarganj in Udham Singh Nagar district for discharging untreated and hazardous chemicals in open drains. This led to pollution in ground water and soil in the agricultural fields.

The pollution control boards were also ordered that the November 13, 2018 order, fining CETP and SIDCUL with Rs 1 crore for their ignorance, stood reiterated.

Shut down of dairies

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on July 8, 2019 ordered the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to shut down dairy units in Delhi for flouting environmental norms and creating health hazard.

The dairies have been allegedly dumping waste (solid, liquid and gaseous) into the drains which are meeting the river Yamuna, resulting in contamination of river water.

Besides, the clogged drainage has become breeding ground for mosquitoes and other inspects. Waste generated was also resulting in discharge of ammonia and nitrogen oxides in the air and nitrate in soil and ground water.

NGT has also ordered the DPCC to prosecute the polluters, recover compensation as well as furnish a report to the Tribunal before the next hearing.

Further, NGT has directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to study the matter and lay down appropriate guidelines for the management and monitoring of environmental norms by the dairies throughout India and furnish a report in the matter.

The local bodies in all the states or Union territories have been asked to file inventory of dairies in their respective jurisdiction so that state PCBs can compile such information in their respective reports furnished to CPCB.

Waste dumping at wetlands

The tribunal directed Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation on July 8, 2019 to file a compliance report by August 27 on the fence it was asked to make around Mollar Bheri to ensure solid waste is not dumped in East Kolkata Wetlands. The NGT is also expecting a report investigating the matter by a committee that’s supposed to inspect the wetlands. The East Kolkata Wetland Authority was directed to be the nodal agency for coordination.

Illegal banquet halls

The NGT on July 8 directed forfeiture of performance guarantee of Rs 5 crore deposited by the Delhi government, to the CPCB, as it failed to comply by the directions of the Tribunal on illegal restaurants, hotels,motels and banquet halls operating in Mahipalpur and Rajokri.

The compliance report filed by the Delhi government lacked in areas such as noise regulatory mechanism, compliance of Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, illegal withdrawal of groundwater, rainwater harvesting and policy for regulating the size of gathering, parking facilities, unauthorised constructions, among others.

“The policy for enforcement of environment norms for places in a densely populated city like Delhi where social gathering takes place, is necessary on account of there already being high level of air pollution,” NGT said.

“The policy making on such vital issue is expected to be in the light of expert studies based on air and water samples of the area, and with the involvement of experts in environment, urban planning or other relevant subjects," it added.

The Court has, meanwhile, accepted the request of the Delhi government for more time to take remedial action.

Won't change landfill buffers, says NGT

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on July 8, 2019 refused to change the 500-metre buffer zone the Rajasthan’s Balotra Water Pollution Control Treatment & Research Foundation Trust needs to maintain from treatment, storage and disposal facility to 200 metres. The trust had argued that such a condition was outside the scope of the guidelines under the Hazardous and Other Wastes Management Rules, 2016.

“Some seepage was observed and there is a history of breaches of such structures in Balotra and Bithuja. This indicates that these structures are not very stable and possibilities of breaches in future cannot be ruled out,” read a report by the State Pollution Control Board, which had inspected the site on May 11, 2019.

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