Court Digest: Major environment hearings of the week (November 2-6, 2020)

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

By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 09 November 2020

Drains in place of sewer lines

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) November 2, 2020 directed the Integrated Drain Management Cell set up under the chief secretary, Delhi, to look into construction of drains in place of sewer lines at Chhatarpur Enclave.

At least 1,700 unauthorised colonies, drains, septic tanks and soak pits had been constructed that could be a source of groundwater pollution.

Rain water harvesting systems were to be constructed for which directions were issued by the NGT, but it was not being done, the application filed by Mahesh Chandra Saxena to the NGT said. The result was that rain water was mixing in the waste water.

It stated that the Chhatapur Enclave was a big colony and that the Delhi government had started construction of drains instead of pipelines for collection of sewage.

Drinking water pipelines were passing through the drains. On account of open drains, there were bacteria, mosquitoes as well as sewage entering the houses. Waste water from septic tanks was being discharged into the groundwater, the application said.

Velliangiri Hills Shivaratri waste

The Isha Foundation filed a rejoinder in response to the Tamil Nadu State Pollution Control Board (TNSPCB) report on the foundation’s disposal of soild waste during and after Maha Shivratri around the Velliangiri hills near Coimbatore. The report also talked about noise levels during the festival.

The foundation said the festival was not a hindrance to people and animals in the locality. The celebration was famous in the area even prior to the formation of the foundation due to the presence of the Velliangiri Andavar temple. Lakhs of people climb the Velliangiri hills during Maha Shivratri.

The waste collected in bins was segregated into biodegradable, non-biodegradable and domestic hazardous waste. The biodegradable waste was converted into manure by the process of mulching. The non-biodegradable waste and domestic hazardous waste was being disposed of through authorised dealers in an environmentally safe manner.

The report by the TNSPCB also mentioned that the foundation distributed free food for the volunteers and devotees in areca leaf plates. The solid waste generated was disposed by adopting scientific methods according to the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

Loudspeakers were kept only at the programme venue, a few kilometers away from the forest boundary. The light and sound systems were set up for the facilitation of the visitors to the festival.

The report was uploaded onto the NGT site November 5.

Delhi construction waste

Nearly 3,900 tonnes per day (TPD) of construction and demolition (C&D) waste was generated in Delhi that required dedicated handling mechanism and disposal.

For the purpose, separate collection and transport infrastructure of C&D waste has been set up, under which the waste would be collected at earmarked sites identified by the three municipal corporations, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and Delhi Cantonment Board (DCB).

The same would be transported to the C&D waste processing and recycling facilities in Delhi. This was mentioned in the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) report filed before the NGT.

There are four operational C&D waste processing and recycling plants in Delhi with a total capacity of 4,150 TPD. This happened after a new C&D waste processing facility at Bakkarwala (in South DMC area) was commissioned and the capacity of the one at Shastri Park expanded to 1,000 TPD from 500 TPD.

In these processing facilities, paver blocks, kerb stones, bricks, aggregates, sand and soil of Bureau of Indian Standards were being produced out of the C&D waste, which were further used in infrastructure projects. Therefore, fresh requirement of natural resources has been minimised, the report stated.

With the existing and proposed processing facilities, it has been expected that the entire C&D waste generated in Delhi would be managed properly in a scientific manner, according to the DPCC report.

The NGT in its November 2, 2020 order noted that off-take by the departments concerned has yet to increase and the same needed to be further monitored.

Reportedly, 74.01, 41.1 and 43.1 per cent of the targets were achieved by Delhi Development Authority, DMCR, and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) respectively, which means that the target set by the Union Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has not been fully achieved.

In view of the above, the NGT directed further monitoring be done and status reviewed by the chief secretary, Delhi on a periodical basis.

In view of the above, the NGT directed further monitoring be done and status reviewed by the chief secretary, Delhi on a periodical basis.

Gold assaying and hallmarking centres

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) told the National Green Tribunal (NGT) it had formulated the ‘Guidelines for Gold Assaying and Hallmarking Centres in consultation with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and CPCB, Delhi. The Indian Association of Hallmarking Centres was also consulted.

The guidelines were then uploaded onto the CPCB website and circulated among all state pollution control boards (SPCB) / pollution control committees (PCC) for their implementation.

The CPCB report of November 4, 2020 also informed the NGT that a compliance status report for the implementation of the guidelines was received from 22 SPCBs / PCCs.

The guidelines had been uploaded by the SPCBs / PCCs on their websites. The Mizoram SPCB said it had uploaded the guidelines on its website, even though there are no gold assaying and hallmarking centres in the state.

The Chandigarh PCC has not uploaded the guidelines on its website. However, all gold assaying and hallmarking centres in the Union territory have been directed to apply for consents. The Puducherry SPCB has issued directions to two centres operating without consent.

The NGT, November 18, 2019 had directed the CPCB to update the existing guidelines on gold assaying and hallmarking centres, so that environmental norms were met.

The court order was in response to an application filed before the NGT. The application said there was a need for a regulatory regime to check acidic activities in the testing of gold.

Proceedings against stone crushers

The Supreme Court (SC) set aside an interim order passed by the NGT. The order had called for prosecution and compensation proceedings to be initiated against stone crushers like the Shree Ganesh Stone Crusher company in Haryana for damaging the environment.

The matter was handed back to the NGT, with the direction to dispose of the case preferably within four weeks. The SC said the stone crushers should be “heard by the NGT”. The apex court would be open to all parties to argue all points before the NGT, it added.

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.