Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (September 11, 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: Friday 11 September 2020

Import of waste paper containing plastic

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to file a report on the import of waste paper containing plastic before October 14, 2020.

An application was filed before the NGT for remedial action against cheap waste paper and the road sweep waste import for firing of brick kilns.

According to the applicant, 900,000 tonnes of waste was imported, which was hazardous. The matter had been considered earlier on several occasions and it was found that there was an absence of proper mechanisms for plastic waste management, including cheap waste paper and imported hazardous road sweep waste.

According to the Central Pollution Control Bord (CPCB), it had written to the MoEF&CC but the ministry had not taken any action.

The CPCB filed a report October 10, 2019 to the effect that state pollution control board (SPCB) / pollution control committee (PCC) had provided information related to the number of pulp and paper units importing waste paper containing plastic in their respective jurisdiction to the CPCB.

Out of 9 states, three states (Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Odisha) had issued directions to pulp and paper units that were involved in importing waste paper containing plastic in their state to manage the waste in accordance with the provisions of Plastic Waste Management Rules (PWM), 2018.

Plastic waste management

The NGT directed the CPCB to take coercive measures including the ‘Polluter Pays’ principle for enforcing ‘Extended Producer Responsibility’ under the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.

The court suggested that the CPCB could also consider ordering an environmental audit against the concerned entities and assess and recover compensation for violation of environmental norms, following due process of law.

The court was hearing two petitions on the matter. One of the petitions sought enforcement of the liability against Amazon and Flipkart using excessive plastic packaging material without meeting statutory liability.

The second petition alleged violation of such statutory liability by Coca-Cola India Pvt Ltd, Gurugram, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd, Gurugram, PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt Ltd, Gurugram, Bisleri International Pvt Ltd, Mumbai, Parle Agro Pvt Ltd, Mumbai, Patanjali Peya Pvt Ltd, Haridwar, Nourish CoBeverages Ltd (Himalayan Water), Gurugram and Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corp Ltd, New Delhi.

Encroachments in Ghaziabad

The NGT September 9 directed the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) to enforce the CPCB guidelines on the control of pollution and enforcement of environmental norms for curbing illegal constructions and operation of farmhouses and marriage halls in Ghaziabad district.

The UPPCB in its report September 7 said the non-complying units had already been asked to shut down by the UPPCB. The Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam has been asked to carry out regular drives to ensure that there was no encroachment of roads and drains in the area.

Use of plastic for packaging

The NGT September 10 took up the issue of use of plastic bottles and multi-layered plastic packages for packaging of carbonated soft drinkx and liquor as well as other items, in view of the adverse impact on the environment and health.

The NGT in its order October 10, 2019, had directed the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), CPCB, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and MoEF&CC to take action and furnish a report.

When the matter was again taken up July 28, no report was filed by the FSSAI, BIS, CPCB and DGHS. The report filed by the MoEF&CC referred the issue of single use plastic to the Committee of Secretaries that was yet to take a further decision.

The NGT September 10 expressed its displeasure at the delay in submission of the report. The court directed the FSSAI, DGHS, MoEF&CC, the CPCB and the BIS to file a report before October 14, 2020. 

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