Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (July 22, 2019)

Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal
Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (July 22, 2019)

Illegal mining in Kerala

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on July 19, 2019 directed that a joint committee be formed to determine the amount of compensation that has to be recovered from Indian Rare Earths Limited (IREL) and Kerala Minerals and Metal Limited (KMML) for illegally mining along the coastal area of Kollam. The committee is supposed to have representatives from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB).

This decision was made based on a report submitted by Kollam district magistrate and KSPCB that highlighted that the long-term shoreline changes along the Neendakara-Kayamkulam coastal stretch “shows severe erosion”.

“Critical examination of the shift in near shore depth contours during the 19-year period (2000-2019) has revealed that there has been a shoreward shift in isobaths particularly the shallow water isobaths of 2-10 metres. The extent of deepening of the near shore areas is more pronounced off Ponmana and Vellanathuruthu indicating severe erosion in the near shore areas,” read the report.

The report substantiated the allegation that mining volumes have far exceeded the sustainable mining quantity proposed.

Development in eco-fragile zone

The tribunal on July 19, 2019 ordered the formation of a joint committee to look into the case of a residential complex Wonder Projects Development Pvt Ltd and Godrej Properties Ltd in Bengaluru East taluk crossing a buffer zone.

The committee will include members of CPCB, Karnataka State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, Wonder Projects Development Pvt Ltd and Godrej Properties Ltd.

An appeal against environmental clearance of the project is also pending before the tribunal.

Legacy waste disposal

The NGT, on July 17, 2019, while hearing a matter of legacy waste at Bhalswa, Ghazipur and Okhla dumpsites in Delhi, approved the waste disposal model followed by Indore Municipal Corporation for biomining/bio-remediation of waste. The tribunal also noted that the Indore model is in consonance with the Solid Waste Management Rules and the CPCB Guidelines on Legacy Waste.

Chief Secretary, Delhi has to furnish an interim report of the steps taken in three months. The CPCB has to also file its action-taken report and the secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs would file compliance report under the Swachh Survekshan.

Unregulated disposal of plastic in Delhi

The NGT, in its order dated July 18, 2019, ordered the Delhi government that it must comply with the tribunal’s December 3, 2018 order and deposit Rs 25 crore with the CPCB for unregulated handling of plastic.

The 2018 order directed the government to deposit the sum as cost of damage to the environment and furnish performance guarantee in the like amount with the CPCB. If the failure continues, the Delhi government will be liable to pay Rs 10 crore per month as a coercive measure for compliance of the order, added the tribunal in its seven-month-old order.

When the CPCB informed the tribunal that Delhi has not deposited the amount, the NGT said the "action hardly meets the magnitude of violation" and gave the government one last opportunity to deposit the amount.

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