Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (July 23, 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: Thursday 23 July 2020

Biomedical waste management

The Supreme Court (SC) in a July 21, 2020 order directed for a meeting to be held to discuss steps taken over clearing biomedical waste of patients suffering from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in hospitals in the National Capital Region (NCR).

The meeting must include representatives from the Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, the court said. It must also include the requisite stakeholders of the concerned departments of the Union government, Delhi government and the representatives of the corporations.

The apex court said a notice must be issued to hospitals asking them to ensure biomedical waste was not dumped in the open area and properly segregated and disposed of.

The order came after a complaint alleged biomedical waste dumping in open areas in Delhi. It was pointed out that the waste of COVID-19 patients was mixed with that of general patients and thrown in the open. The requisite treatment by incinerators and proper disposal was required, said the court.

Under the Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2016, individual hospitals can enter into a contract only with the State Pollution Board approved Common Biomedical Waste Treatment Facility (the contractor).

The contractor shall collect waste from the hospitals and manage disposal. The tracking of biomedical waste generated, collected, processed and recycled needs to be improved urgently by adopting the bar-code system specified in the 2016 rules.

This has not been implemented completely yet, the court was informed.

Smog towers in Delhi

The SC on July 21 expressed shock at the delay in installing smog towers in Delhi to tackle air pollution. The setting up of smog towers within three months was directed by the apex court in its January 13 order. An agreement was to be entered into for this purpose.

Areas where the smog towers were to be installed were also chosen stated an affidavit by the Centre and the Delhi government. The agreement was not entered into even after three months.

It needed to be signed within a week and a compliance report filed, the apex court said.

Dumping of garbage along railway tracks

Garbage pile-ups along train tracks in Delhi and a lack of action to curb the problem by the Indian Railways and the municipal corporations earned the ire of the top court.

Appropriate action should be taken and an action plan filed on the matter, said the top court.

Laterite stone quarries

A report was filed by the Goa State Pollution Control Board before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) over the illegal extraction of laterite stones in Bicholim taluka.

The March 16 report was uploaded to the NGT website July 23.

A site inspection was carried out to verify the present status of laterite stone quarries in Curchirem and Ona villages, according to the report.

Inspection of laterite stone quarries at Curchirem village revealed one of the quarries had resumed operations recently. There was evidence of fresh stones being cut and vehicle marks within the quarry.

Another laterite stone quarry at Curchirem was not in operation and was found partially filled with rainwater, said the report.

The roadway towards the extraction of laterite stone quarries at Ona village was not accessible. A representative of the mamlatdar / tahsildar, Bicholim said the site was not in operation, the report added.

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