Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal
Child protection homes
The Supreme Court (SC) on June 11, 2020 directed the secretaries of Tamil Nadu’s health and family welfare as well as social welfare departments to submit a report on the reasons behind the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in a child protection home in Chennai’s Royapuram — around 35 out of 57 children had been infected with COVID-19 and were hospitalised.
The status of the health of children 'in conflict with law' in various protection homes in Tamil Nadu should also be added in the report, the SC ordered.
The apex court also directed the circulation of a questionnaire to state governments about the care and protection of children in conflict with law.
The Juvenile Justices Committees of the High Courts should also be supplied with the questionnaire. The Juvenile Justices Committees of the High Courts shall ensure that the state governments provide the information sought in the questionnaire before June 30, 2020.
Chennai sea pollution
The NGT on June 11 granted an extension of two months to a joint committee to file its report on the discharge of pollutants into the sea by M / s Manali Petrochemical Ltd, M / s Kothari Petrochemical Ltd and M / s Tamil Nadu Petrochemical Ltd in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
The NGT in its order of February 8, had directed for the constitution of a joint committee to inspect the units in question and find out whether they were maintaining and managing all pollution control mechanisms.
The committee was also to probe whether the discharge of effluents from these industries to the sea confirmd with the specified norms prescribed by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the impact of effluents on sea water.
The committee had submitted an interim report on May 18, 2020, that said sea samples were collected by a team from the National Institute of Ocean Technology, covering a one kilometre-wide and 2 km-long stretch along the Ennore coast to include the near field and far field area of outfall.
Additionally, samples were collected at the mouth of Ennore creek to know any impact of pollution on the sea through this creek. Forty-eight samples were collected besides 14 sediment samples from the seabed to know the impact due to discharge.
But due to the COVID-19 lockdown, analysis reports from the laboratories were yet to be received. Hence, the committee had requested for an extension of time to submit the final report.
Tihura Nallah pollution
Yash Pakka Ltd, formerly M / s Yash Papers Ltd, filed a compliance status report on June 13 about the fine imposed by the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) on it for polluting the Tihura Nallah that flows into the Saryu river, downstream of Ayodhya.
The company stated that it was wrong on the UPPCB’s part to impose the penalty of Rs 40 lakh on it. It added that the penalty had been “wrongly calculated and illegally proposed by the UPPCB”.
This was because the investigation report of September 6, 2019, had said that farmers had encroached on government drainage and it was due to their activities that the Tihura Nallah was getting obstructed and polluted.
The company stated that the “UPPCB had no authority or power to impose and recover environmental damages under the law”, that could be imposed only by the NGT.
The company had already carried out the de-sludging of Tihura Nallah and had submitted a compliance report on January 1, 2020. The compliance of the same has also been inspected by the Joint Committee constituted by the UPPCB.
STPs for controlling Ganga pollution
The Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam on June 15 filed its report to the NGT on the status of installation of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in Sant Kabir Nagar and Gorakphpur districts to stem the pollution in the Ganga river.
The matter related to the pollution of the Ramgarh lake, Ami river, Rapti river and Rohani river in Gorakhpur district. These rivers are tributaries of the Ghaghara river, that in turn, is a tributary of the Ganga.
Out of the nine major drains falling into the Rapti without treatment, eight have been proposed for interception, diversion and treatment under the Namami Gange Project (Phase-I), amounting to about Rs 240 crore.
The catchment area related to one major drain falling into the Rapti without treatment, was seprated by the Gorakhpur-Lucknow four lane road. Hence, a separate project (Phase-II) under Namami Gange would be prepared and submitted by August 2020, the report said.
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