Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal
Food park near Jim Corbett
The Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board and the district magistrate of Udham Singh Nagar were directed to furnish a report over Himalayan Food Park Pvt Ltd violating environmental norms by operating near the Jim Corbett National Park.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) July 17, 2020 issued the order after applicant Vijay Kr Malhotra said neither the green belt was developed around the complex nor an effluent treatment plant was set up.
No spare land was also provided for the development of the green belt.
Distance criteria for stone quarrying
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) filed the Distance Criteria for Permitting Stone Quarrying report before the NGT.
This was done after a February 28 NGT order found the distance of 50 metres for stone quarries — particularly when blasts are involved — as inadequate.
The NGT was of the view that such a small distance could have a “deleterious effect on noise and air pollution, environment and public health”.
The tribunal directed the CPCB to examine, lay down stringent conditions and a suitably longer distance. It asked the CPCB to convey the same to the state pollution control boards as well.
The CPCB recommended a minimum distance of 100 metres when blasting is not involved from residential, public buildings, inhabited sites, protected monuments, public roads, railway lines, bridges, dams, reservoirs, rivers, lakes or other locations considered by states.
When blasting is involved, the CPCB said a minimum distance of 200 meters from residential buildings and others must be followed.
The CPCB also added that if any states already followed a more stringent criteria than the one proposed by it for minor mineral mining, the same should be applicable.
The report was uploaded to the NGT website July 20.
Common bio-medical waste treatment facility
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) filed its report on whether SMS Water Grace BMW (P) Ltd, the operator of a common biomedical waste treatment facility (CBWTF) followed prescribed environmental norms.
It was noted by the DPCC that particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, total polychlorinated di-benzo dioxins and furans exceeded prescribed standards.
A show cause notice was issued January 9 over authorisation granted under the Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016.
The notice mentioned why the authorisation should not be revoked, closure directions issued and why environmental damage compensation should not be levied on it for operating the facility without meeting prescribed standards.
In response to the notice, the operator submitted its reply January 28 and February 3. The emissions were within the prescribed standards, according to stack monitoring reports submitted by the CBWTF operator.
It was, however, established that the operator ran the facility without meeting emission standards for a period between the detection of the violation and subsequent stack monitoring carried out December 30, 2019.
It was established that the emissions met standards. An environmental damage compensation of Rs 4 lakh was assessed and communicated accordingly to the operator after a March 20 direction.
The operator deposited the environmental compensation of with the DPCC in compliance with the aforesaid directions, the report said.
Another complaint was received through email April 27 from the Amritapuri Resident Welfare Association over burning and storage of hospital waste in open space by SMS Water Grace BMW (P) Ltd.
An inspection of the CBWTF was carried out May 2 to check whether it followed April 18 CPCB guidelines of safe handling, treatment and disposal of the waste out of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
This was done to verify the allegations in the complaint, according to the report.
During the inspection, no burning of biomedical waste or evidence thereof was observed in the premises of CBWTF. No biomedical waste was found stored in open space as alleged in the complaint as well.
Biomedical waste treatment facility in Jhansi fined
Unscientific disposal of biomedical waste by Medical Pollution Control Committee, Growth Central, Industrial Area, Bijoli, Jhansi led to the imposition of an environmental compensation of Rs 7,41,000 against it by the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) July 17.
The unit was directed to immediately carry out necessary rectifications and regular functioning in its plant to ensure effective operation.
The CBWTF was inspected by the UPPCB June 3 and at the time of inspection, 265.760 kilogrammes of waste was unscientifically stored on open land within the premises.
It was observed that the generated effluent by the process of floor washing of biomedical storage area, incinerator shed and vehicle washing was not collected in the effluent treatment plant (ETP) as it was not operational.
Washing of vehicles was being done within the premises and the effluent generated was also being discharged on land within the premises.
Further, no sludge was discharged on sludge drying beds. Ash, generated by the incineration of biomedical waste, was collected at an open area in the CBWTF premises near the ETP without a covered roof shed.
It emitted on open land ‘fugitive emission’ in the atmosphere in nearby areas. In case of rain, there was the possibility of it being flowing outside the premises and can be the cause of water pollution in the nearby area of Bijoli, Jhansi.
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