Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal
Assess recharging of Delhi’s groundwater: NGT
On May 31, 2019, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the constitution of a Joint Committee of the Central Pollution Control Board, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee and the Central Ground Water Board to take samples of groundwater from across Delhi and study the methodology used in recharging it.
The tribunal was responding after hearing an application filed by Mahesh Chandra Saxena, which claimed that groundwater recharge by the Delhi Jal Board, Delhi Development Authority, Public Works Department Delhi, New Delhi Municipal Council and South Delhi Municipal Corporation through rain water harvesting structures was not done scientifically, resulting in contamination of groundwater.
The tribunal has asked the committee to furnish a report to it within one month.
Investigate impact of concretising Gurugram drain on groundwater recharge
On May 31, 2019, the NGT directed the Municipal Corporation, Gurgaon, Haryana State Pollution Control Board and the representative of the Haryana Irrigation Department to investigate the impact of the concretisation of Badshahpur drain on groundwater recharge, e-flow of water in the drain and impact on urban sprawl on the environment within one month.
The Badshahpur drain is Gurugram's arterial storm water drain, which has been encroached upon in recent years.
The NGT was hearing a plea filed by Gurugram resident Vaishali Rana Chandra and others that alleged that the Badshahpur drain had been illegally concretised.
Use of plastic for packagaing to be examined by a joint committee
On May 31, 2019, a petition calling for restrictions on the use of plastic bottles and multi-layered plastic packages used for packaging of carbonated soft drinks, liquor as well as other items, in view of the adverse impact on the environment and human health, came up for hearing before the NGT.
According to the applicants, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has only focused on waste management and not on the subject of restrictions on the use of plastic as a packaging material. The Packaging and Labelling Regulations, 2018, under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, do not deal with the issue in entirety and are not adequate to deal with the problem.
After hearing the petition, the NGT directed the constitution of an Expert Committee comprising of representatives of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, Bureau of Indian Standards, Central Pollution Control Board and Directorate General Of Health Services to examine whether any further regulatory provisions were required on the subject of restrictions on the packaging by use of plastic material after the steps already taken, and if so to what extent.
'Polluter pays' principle needs to be applied once pollution is caused: NGT
On May 30, 2019, the NGT expressed surprise at the lackadaisical attitude of the Punjab Pollution Control Board while dealing with the matter of pollution by the Universal Carbon Factory at Tanda, Hoshiarpur Road, Hoshiarpur, Punjab.
The tribunal said that "once pollution is being caused, ‘Precautionary’, ‘Sustainable Development’ and ‘Polluter Pays’ principles have to be applied" and directed such actions to be taken in accordance with law and a further report submitted in a month.
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