Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (July 30, 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 30 July 2020

Waste management in Mathura

A penalty of Rs five crore would be imposed on the Uttar Pradesh government if biowaste remediation does not start in Nagla Kolhu, Mathura, in three months, the report filed by an oversight committee before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) uploaded on July 29, 2020 said.

The report was on remedial action against unregulated dumping of solid waste in the flood plains of Yamuna and scientific clearing of the legacy waste site at Vrindavan, in accordance with the Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

A detailed inspection was carried out on July 9-10 by the officers of Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB).

The Committee observed that remediation of legacy waste at Maat Road site was complete and no waste was present to be remediated. However, it was dissatisfied with the municipal solid waste (MSW) treatment facility at Nagla Kolhu wherein the landfill was not being utilised to store landfillable waste frequently.

Proper arrangements of leachate collection and gas collection / flaring arrangement were not made.

Further, during inspection, leachate drain was found choked and no permanent pipeline was present from collection tank to sewage treatment plant (STP).

It was also found that most of the area of MSW plant was covered by legacy waste which needed to be remediated at the earliest.

The report said the current processing capacity of Nagla Kolhu processing plant was 180 TPD, which was just enough to cater to the day to day processing of solid waste in Mathura.

At least 1.80 lakh tonne of legacy waste was already lying untreated at Nagla Kolhu. The Committee stated that the shifting of Vrindavan solid waste from Maat Road to Nagla Kolhu waste site would be meaningful only if bio waste remediation of legacy waste was being done at the latter site. Otherwise, it would just be an exercise in redistribution of solid waste.

Rohtang Pass

The Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) procured 25 electric buses, following the successful trial of operation of electric buses on the Rohtang stretch. Seven charging points had been provided at Manali, four at Kullu and four at Mandi.

At least 50 more electric buses were purchased during 2019-2020 for plying in and around Shimla so as to reduce pollution and promote environment-friendly public transport system in Himachal Pradesh.

HRTC intends to purchase 100 more electric buses in 2020-2021.
These were some of the measures mentioned in the report by the secretary, department of environment, science & technology, Himachal Pradesh, for the preservation of ecology in Manali and Rohtang pass.

The conservator of forests, Kullu, said stage-I forest clearance has already been granted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) for the diversion of 8.98 hectares of forest land in favour of Manali Ropeway Pvt Ltd for the construction of Palchan-Rohtang ropeway project.

The project proponent had also deposited net present value (NPV) and compensatory afforestation amount of Rs 1,13,36,324, as well as amount of Rs 1,16,35,274 towards cost of trees and departmental charges with the forest department.

The case for stage-II clearance had been sent by the nodal officer (Forest Conservation Act), Himachal Pradesh, to the MoEF&CC on January 18, 2020.

Construction of sewage treatment plant at Marhi and work on the upgradation of STP at Manali had started. 

Khoh river pollution

The two-member bench comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Sonam Phintso Wangdi of the NGT on July 28 expressed its displeasure at the work done on the waste disposal dump yards near river Khoh at village Ratanpur, Kashirampur, Gadighat as well as near sports stadium, Kotdwar, Uttarakhand.

The dump yards had been illegally set up and garbage was being burnt, polluting the river water.

The cause of displeasure was the report filed on May 21 on behalf of the state of Uttarakhand, which stated that some interim measures had been adopted and further action was in progress.

The NGT found the progress was inadequate and cautioned that the damage to the environment was continuing, which was a criminal offence.

The NGT while granting adjournment till January 11, 2021, made it clear that the state of Uttarakhand would be liable to pay damages for inaction and prosecution of the officers concerned, if no further progress was made. 

Single use plastic

The NGT on July 28 listed the matter on restricting use of plastic bottles and multi-layered plastic packages for September 10.

The order was in response to the report filed by the MoEF&CC on February 14, which stated that the issue of banning single-use plastic was discussed in the meeting of Committee of Secretaries at the apex level at Cabinet Secretariat.

Measures taken by the MoEF&CC and other ministries were also talked about. 

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