Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal
Illegal constructions and dumping of waste affecting East Kolkata Wetlands
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on May 27, 2019 heard the petition filed by Subhas Datta, an environment activist, highlighting the exploitation of East Kolkata Wetlands. A survey conducted by him has revealed large number of constructions that have sprung up within the area for different purposes, including commercial, industrial and other activities that are damaging to the water body.
Another aspect raised was the dumping of solid waste within the East Kolkata Wetlands area and the setting up of a large number of plastic reprocessing units in the Bantala, Basanti highway roadside areas. The leather industries are operated with brick built ovens and other make-shift structures under the open sky causing heavy air as well as water pollution. The Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation has also been dumping its solid waste on the wetlands at Mollar Bheri.
The NGT directed the East Kolkata Wetland Authority and the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation to take urgent steps to put up fencing around the dumping area around the Mollar Bheri to prevent leachate and slurry.
The tribunal also directed that a committee be constituted to consider the various aspects of the matter, for which physical inspection of the entire East Kolkata Wetlands should be carried out to verify the present situation prevailing there. The green court granted three months time for the purpose of completing the entire exercise and submitting the report.
NGT orders inspection of stone crushing units in Andaman Islands
An application which came up before the NGT on May 28, 2019, noted the presence of large number of stone quarrying and stone crushing units in south and north-middle Andaman Islands. These are operating without environmental clearance and consent to operate. Some of them also do not have the necessary Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance.
The NGT ordered an inspection to verify the claims. In the advent of an illegal operation, the NGT has directed the Andaman and Nicobar Pollution Control Committee and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to take appropriate action in accordance with the law.
NGT grants permission for renovation of guest house in Radha Kund
The NGT on May 29, 2019 gave Uttar Pradesh government a go ahead to renovate the old guest house in Radha Kund in Mathura by repairing or re-enforcing old foundation but without raising any new structures.
The state had approached the NGT for permission to renovate the old three-storeyed guest house. On renovation, the guest house would facilitate the stay of pilgrims who visit Parikarma Marg, Goverdhan and Giriraj Parvat.
The bench of Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore ordered that the pilgrims or public or visitors or any other person visiting the guest house should not bring any vehicles and the vehicles would be parked at the parking lot built for people coming to Radha Kund. Further, the open area around the guest house should be developed into a green area by planting trees of suitable species, installation of rainwater harvesting and solar energy systems. Discharge of municipal solid waste has to be connected to the main sewage of Radha Kund area.
Illegal mining in Jaisamand lake, despite NGT orders
The NGT on May 27, 2019 directed a notice be sent to the Department of Mining, Rajasthan, to explain why illegal mining was still being carried out in the catchment area of Jaisamand lake in Udaipur.
The tribunal through its order of September 19, 2018, had asked the Department of Mining and Geology to ensure that no mining was carried out in the catchment area of the lake and three months time was given for the execution of the order.
However, the directions were not followed. Neither the illegal mining was stopped nor the payment of environmental compensation recovered from the miners, the NGT was informed.
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