Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (September 14, 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: Thursday 15 September 2022
Down To Earth brings you top environmental cases heard in Supreme Court, high courts & National Green Tribunal

Supreme Court notice to Centre over shortage of HIV drugs 

The Supreme Court (SC) has sought a response from the Union government over the shortage of antiretroviral therapy (ART) drugs.

ART drugs are administered to patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), for which there is no cure or vaccine. The therapy delays the progression of the infection into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which results in fatal consequences.

Read more: Acquired shortage: India’s HIV drugs are in short supply, which could have been averted

There are shortages in the procurement of ART drugs in India, Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS had petitioned before the SC. The court has asked for a reponse from the centre within two weeks. 

A tender for 2021-22 to acquire the medication was due in August 2021. However, it was issued in December 2021 and failed. A fresh tender was issued in March 2022, the plea claimed. 

NGT over norms for firecracker units

The National Green Tribunal (NGT), September 13, 2022, noted that deaths due to industrial incidents are on account of failure to follow the environmental safety norms. 

The court was hearing the case of an illegal firecracker unit catching fire July 24, 2022, and resulting in the death of five people. 

The Bihar chief secretary was directed by NGT to call a meeting with all the district magistrates and other statutory regulators to brainstorm on the issue. The authorities would then issue a standard operating procedure (SOP) to prevent such fire incidents in the state.  

One such measure would be creating awareness through appropriate information, education and communication (IEC) activities, said the NGT order. If viable, such activities may be undertaken along with the Bihar State Legal Service Authority and Education Department. 

The order also stressed the handling of explosives according to laid down norms and procedures and no unauthorised manufacturing involving explosives. 

NGT on legacy waste at Rajasthan dumpsites

The Rajasthan government has identified 176 legacy waste dumpsites, which would require Rs 370 crore for remediation, according to a report filed in the NGT over the compliance of Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

The timeframe for clearing all dumpsites in the state has been pushed from March 2023 to March 2024, the report said.

Work orders for waste to energy plants in Jaipur and Jodhpur have been awarded, it said. Garden composting and pit composting have been taken in the present processing capacity. 

A cluster approach has been adopted to cover 15 urban local bodies with 10 plants, it added. Biomethanation plans in Udaipur (20 tonnes per day) and Dungarpur (7 TPD) plants are already operational. 

Proposals for a 100 TPD biomethanation plant in Jodhpur and a 400 TPD one in Jaipur have been sent to the Union finance ministry’s department of economic affairs. It has been submitted for the central government’s viability gap funding scheme, which provides capital support to PPP projects that are not financially viable. 

NGT on Vallur Thermal Power Station 

Best technologies have been adopted for mitigation of air pollution at a thermal power plant in Vallur village, Tamil Nadu, according to a report submitted to NGT. 

The power plant is an equal partnership between Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Company Ltda and NTPC Ltd, formerly National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd. 

Vallur Thermal Power Station, with a capacity of 1500 MW, is the sole power plant of NTPC Tamil Nadu Energy Company Ltd (NTECL) and is situated at Ponneri Taluk, Tiruvallur district. 

There are three stacks of 275 meters attached to boilers in units 1, 2 and 3, the NTECL report said. Flue gases, which contain the reaction products of fuel and combustion air and residual substances, are let out through these stacks as directed in the consent to operate for maximum dispersion.

NTECL electrostatic precipitators are designed for particulate matter (PM) emission values below 50 milligrams per cubic metre. PM emission standards for NTECL as new the latest norms notified by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is 50 mg/Nm3. 

The tribunal had August 23, 2022, directed the industries to file the nature of pollution control mechanisms employed in their industries. 

The report said it is in compliance with the suo motu NGT direction. It came after media reports claimed six industries in north Chennai were polluting the air. 

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