Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal
Delhi steel pickling units
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) submitted its action-taken report to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on March 9, 2020, about 90 steel pickling units that were operating in Wazirpur Industrial Area, SMA Industrial Area, GT Karnal Road and Badli Industrial Area.
Pursuant to the NGT directions, the 90 pickling units were effectively closed due to the coordinated efforts of DPCC. The closure directions issued by DPCC were also sent to power distribution companies and Delhi Jal Board for disconnection of electricity and water connections to ensure effective closure of the pickling units.
In addition, regular vigil and surveillance has been continued against illegal operation of pickling units. Between December 2019 and January 2020, nine more units were inspected and found to operating clandestinely. These units were also closed down.
The DPCC had also asked the operators of pickling units to remove plant and machinery used by them to ensure that there is no chance of revival of operation of the activity in industrial areas of Delhi. The report mentioned that 29 units have removed their plant and machinery from their premises and four more units are in the process of shifting their activities permanently from the Wazirpur Industrial Area.
A survey was also carried out in Wazirpur Industrial Area to detect units that were not connected to a Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP). Out of 91 defaulting units, 86 units had promptly connected to the conveyance system leading to the CETP. “Out of Rs 81 lakh imposed, Rs 26.50 lakh compensation has been realised by DPCC from 35 units,” the report added.
Landfills in Kerala
In compliance with the NGT order of July 17, 2019 in Original Application No. 519 of 2019, the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB) submitted its report on the location of dumpsites and landfills in Kerala. The list, updated as on December 28, 2019, contained maps showing the location of dumpsites along with its Google earth imagery. The report mentioned that the state PCB was also conducting a drone survey in the dumpsites.
The matter related to management of legacy waste. The NGT had directed the Central Pollution Control Board to compile the latest data on the dumpsites with the assistance of state PCBs / PCCs and secretaries, urban development of all the states / union territories within one month and place the information of such dumpsites on its website.
Steps to contain pollution in Delhi
The final report by the oversight committee headed by Pratibha Rani, former judge, Delhi High Court on steps to contain environmental pollution was made available to the public on March 13, 2020.
The report dealt with various issues like industrial pollution, plastic waste dumping and waste management.
In a meeting held on October 30, 2019, mention was made of bhattis of potters and them being closed down. The closure had left serious impact on the life and earnings of the potters.
The committee recommended the need to sensitise potters about the need to switch over to approved fuel like PNG and also to provide them subsidy as well as assistance in paper work. It was recommended that the bhattis, that have already been sealed, should be unsealed on the condition that within the stipulated time, the potters would switch over to approved fuel.
With respect to the issue of air pollution being caused by dumping of plastic waste on agricultural land, around 10,766 tonnes of plastic waste had been cleared and sent to waste-to-energy plant. Also, PWD drains in Jahangirpuri were freed from encroachment and 800 tonnes of plastic waste removed.
The final report mentioned that steps for construction of Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities (TSDF) for hazardous waste on build, operate and transfer basis at Bawana, Delhi for a period of 25 years had been taken. A door-to-door survey of 17 industrial areas connected to CETPs had been completed by a joint team of Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation and DPCC and 1966 units were found to be non-compliant.
Action had been taken against such units and Rs 5.66 crore deposited by the defaulters on account of realization of environmental compensation till December 10, 2019.
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