Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (November 22, 2022)

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: Tuesday 22 November 2022

Spillage of fly ash and diesel in Sundarbans

The National Green Tribunal November 18, 2022 directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to file its affidavit along with rules and guidelines for determination of environmental compensation for the damage caused to the environment due to spillage of diesel and fly ash in the saline and brackish waters of Sundarbans.

The court listed the matter for January 17, 2023.

A forum, Dakshinbanga Matsyajibi (DMF), had filed the application before the NGT, Eastern Bench, Kolkata. DMF works for the welfare of small scale and artisanal fishing communities dependent upon the Hooghly river and the Sundarbans for their livelihood.

The applicant said frequent capsizing of barges carrying fly ash on the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route has affected the riverine ecology. The route flows through the highly eco-sensitive and fragile Sundarbans in the state of West Bengal. 

Illegal brick kilns

The NGT November 21, 2022 directed the constitution of a joint committee to look into the matter of illegal brick kilns operating in Uttar Pradesh. 

The committee would comprise of additional chief secretary (Environment), CPCB, UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) and Ground Water Department under the UP government. 

District magistrates, senior superintendent of police and superintendent of police of the seven districts — Kasganj, Hathras, Etah, Firozabad, Agra, Etawah and Mainpuri and the commissioner, Agra division will also be a part of the panel. 

The court took up the matter in response to the application filed by Suntera Singh Yadav. 

The applicant referred to the compliance status of the brick kilns in UP compiled by the UPPCB. List of defaulter brick kilns in the seven districts issued by the UPPCB dated July 26, 2021 listed defaulting brick kilns in Kasganj, Hathras, Etah, Firozabad, Agra, Etawah and Mainpuri districts.

The UPPCB has issued closure orders to 647 units out of 1,254 brick kilns operating in seven districts for not having consent to operate, noted the Bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Arun Kumar Tyagi. However, the status of compliance of emission standards is not given.

Surathkal beach pollution

The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) was directed by the NGT November 18 to take requisite action to stop the flow of sewage and industrial effluents into the sea near Surathkal beach in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka.

The NGT directed that the KSPCB need to fix accountability of the violators — the industries concerned and the Mangaluru City Corporation and take action in the matter within two months.

Proceedings were initiated in the matter in the light of media reports of damage to the environment as shown by discolouration of seawater near Surathkal beach. 

Media reports also mentioned that discolouration of seawater adversely affected the sea bass fish. Parts of cage farming in Phalguni river in Tannirbhavi and Bangrakulur areas were found to be dead, raising concern among fishermen and environmentalists.

Tarballs were formed out of oil waste dumped by ships mid-sea, the reports said.

A joint panel looking into the issue had filed a report October 3, 2022 stating the water quality was found polluted on account of discharge of untreated sewage into the sea by the Mangaluru City Corporation, apart from industrial pollution along the coast of Mangaluru.

The committee was of the opinion that discolouring of seawater May 14, 2022 at the beach near Surathkal is due to algal bloom.

The National Institute of Ocean Technology report has raised concern over iron concentrations inducing algal bloom and an iron pelletisation unit along the coast of Mangalore.

The committee recommended that the Mangaluru City Corporation has to take up the work of underground drainage and connection of missing links to terminal sewage treatment plant so as to “ensure that there is no possible entry of untreated sewage/sullage into the sea from non-point sources across the jurisdiction.”

However, there is no presence of oil and grease in the seawater, the panel said.

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