Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (October 8, 2020)

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: Thursday 08 October 2020

Bio-medical waste management

An oversight committee headed by Justice SVS Rathore filed a report before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on non-compliance of the provisions of Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 (BMW Rules, 2016) by Uttar Pradesh.

The report was in compliance with the NGT order passed in Original Application No. 710 / 2017 in the matter of Shailesh Singh Vs Sheela Hospital and Trauma Centre & Others.

The committee, in its report, said there was an elaborate track and trace system of bio-medical waste management prescribed in the BMW Rules, 2016, in which all coloured bags are bar-coded. The movement of trucks is tracked through a global positioning system (GPS).

However, barring a small pilot in Lucknow, none of the operators were using the bar-coding system. This put a big question mark on the reliability of the data generated, it said.

Large infrastructural gaps in healthcare facilities (HCF) were also noticed, due to which many were not complying with BMW Rules. Around 452 of 530 HCFs with an operating capacity of more than 100 beds did not have sewage treatment plants (STP) / effluent treatment plants (ETP).

Even in government facilities, out of 1,027 HCFs comprising district hospitals and community health centrers (CHC), 564 did not have collection sheds where biomedical waste could be collected.

Only 628 primary health centers (PHC) out of 3,620 had deep burial pits.

The construction of ETPs in district hospitals was very slow and only 40 district hospitals were taken up for ETP construction in 2020, it added. Nearly 2,483 HCFs were notauthorised under BMW Rules. Of these, 441 HCFs belong to the government.

An important gap was noticed in the disposal of radioactive materials. The health department must develop standard protocols and build capacity for all the stakeholders, the report said.

The report stressed on capacity building among stakeholders. Pollution in hospitals was a constant challenge and the nature and extent of infections keep on varying, the latest being COVID-19.

The report recommended that capacity building workshops be organised on a continuous basis for all stakeholders — doctors, paramedics, other hospital staff, laboratory staff, blood bank staff, private practitioners, nursing homes and the HCFs.

Mining in and around Jaisamand lake

The NGT October 6 took up the application filed by Nanga Ram Dangi on illegal mining in the area around Jaisamand lake, Rajasthan’s Udaipur district.

The application, filed in 2014, alleged illegal mining in eight villages in the catchment area of the lake.

The tribunal considered the matter vide order September 19, 2018, and directed the Directorate of Mining and Geology to ensure that all illegal mining activities in the catchment area of the lake were closed.

It asked the directorate to submit a compliance report to the tribunal. The matter was, thereafter, considered in light of the status reports filed from time to time.

The NGT took up the matter in continuation of the earlier proceedings and also looked at the action taken report September 30, 2020, filed by the Inspector-General Police, Udaipur. The report stated that regular touring was being done in the area using drones.

NGT termed the action taken report as inadequate and lacking in meaningful enforcement of law. The Bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and SP Wangdi directed the Chief Secretary, Rajasthan, to consider appropriate course of action in light of various orders passed by the tribunal and circulate appropriate guidelines at grass-root level, particularly the district magistrates and superintendents of police.

Electronic surveillance system must be reviewed and include requirement of GPS for the vehicles used in transportation and mined materials. There should be CCTV cameras at the hotspots and a mobile application which could be used by any complainant for giving information about illegal activities of this nature. 

Land encroachment

The NGT October 6 directed the district administration and the Nagar Nigam, Bhopal, to take appropriate action in encroachment of government land and nallah and discharge of untreated sewage at village Kauluva, Bhopal, by Hardesh Kirar.

A joint committee constituted to look into the matter acknowledged encroachment and diversion of the drain.

A new report was filed by the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) August 7 on behalf of the joint committee. The report said the MPPCB had directed the district administration and Nagar Nigam to take necessary action on nallah encroachment.

The said nallah was then demarcated, so that necessary action could be taken by the district administration and Nagar Nigam, Bhopal. 

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