Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal
Trimbakeshwar river pollution
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the chief secretary, Maharashtra, to take action in the matter of discharge of untreated sewage into the river Trimbakeshwar, Nasik district. The court directed that remedial action against the erring officers be taken and an affidavit of compliance be filed before February 23, 2021.
The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) in its December 26, 2019 report said pollution was being caused on account of failure of Trimbakeshwar Municipal Council.
Another report filed by the MPCB October 27 informed the NGT that the existing sewage treatment plant (STP) was found unoperational due to temporary electricity failure and no backup was provided for its operation.
No flow meter was provided at the inlet of STP to ascertain the incoming flow of sewage. Trimbak Municipal Council discharged sewage into the Godavari river through two nallas: Neelganga and Mhatarroad.
No in-situ treatment, such as phyto-remediation or bioremediation, was provided on the said nallas, according to the MPCB report.
The NGT said the state PCB had failed in its duty with regard to recovery compensation on ‘polluter pay’ principle.
Water bodies restoration
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) submitted a report with the NGT on information received from the states and union territories (UTs) regarding action plans for restoration of water bodies.
Chhattisgarh said around 68,803 ponds were selected for restoration during 2019-2020. Out of these, 33,106 ponds had been restored under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005.
At least 238,004 ponds had been restored during 2018-2019. All identified water bodies had been geo-tagged and allocated a unique identification number.
The Wetland Authority, Department of Environment, Delhi, said there were 49 ponds under the jurisdiction of Delhi Development Authority and Horticulture Department.
All 49 ponds had been selected for restoration and four ponds had already been restored. These ponds were primarily being used for horticulture and recreation purposes. Most of them were polluted by local drains. Action plans have been prepared to treat the drain sewage by installing STPs, it said.
A joint committee report was filed with the NGT on steps taken to prevent illegal sand mining on the banks of Thamirabarani river, Tamil Nadu, and discharge of illegal trade effluents into the river by the nearby industries and workshops.
The pollution was also caused on account of discharge of untreated sewage into the river.
To prevent mixing of final effluent from the outlet of the septic tanks into river, underground sewerage schemes (UGSS) were being executed in Phase II and Phase III.
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) asked the commissioner, Tirunelveli Municipal Corporation, to complete UGSS for the unsewered city area and ensure that the no untreated city sewage is let into rivers Thamirabarani, Kodagan channel, Tirunelveli channel and Palaymkal channel.
The assistant director, department of geology and mining, Tirunelveli, said stringent action was being taken by the revenue, police and mines department to check illegal sand mining in the river. Flying squad of the mining department also conducted raids to curb illegal sand mining.
The commissioner, Tirunelveli Municipal Corporation, proposed to construct dhobi khana in three locations to prevent washing of clothes by washermen at Karupandhurai and Vannarapettai. Oil water separator has also been proposed, which will be completed by September 30, 2021.
Konothupuzha river pollution
The Amballoor Gram Panchayat filed a report with the NGT on the illegal encroachment and pollution of Konothupuzha river that flows through Nadama and Manakunnam villages, Kanayannoor taluk in Kerala’s Ernakulam district.
The report was in response to the interim order passed by the NGT January 24.
The state formed a joint committee and prepared an action plan to stop pollution in Konothupuzha river and revive the river. A meeting of the committee was convened on June 15.
It was decided that the services of the surveyors be utilised to determine the boundaries of Konothupuzha river. However, the survey would depend on when the local self-government institutions deposit the expenses to conduct the survey, the report said.
On completion of the survey, encroachments in the Purampoke lands, if any, would be evicted in accordance with the Kerala Land Conservancy Act, 1957.
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