Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal
Regional green assessment can’t replace EIA
Regional Environmental Impact Assessment (REIA) cannot take the place of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), ruled the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on September 25, 2019. The tribunal passed this order for two similar cases.
The first case was about green clearances given to 12 minor mineral-sand mining projects on the rivers Betwa and Ken without EIA. In the second case, an REIA was prepared for 13 mines over five rivers in Uttar Pradesh, over which sand mining projects exist. The clearance was granted despite there being no terms of reference and individual EIA’s for the projects.
The NGT quashed the clearance granted to all the mining leases as they failed to follow the directions under the EIA Notification, 2006, issued by the Supreme Court, the Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016 and the various office memorandums issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
Impact of tourism on environment
The NGT, while hearing two pleas on preservation of Karnataka’s Chikkamagaluru district from the impact of tourism on September 25, 2019, directed the MoEF&CC and Urban Development Ministry to study this impact in the entire country and come up with a nationwide policy.
The first demanded direction to conduct detailed carrying capacity study to assess the impact of factors such as construction of resorts, new civil structures, availability of water sources to sustain the projected tourist inflow on roads, power lines, soil erosion, diversion of streams, extraction of groundwater, waste generation and handling, road traffic and pollution and evolve a management plan for the district. The applicant had also requested that new resorts and tourist infrastructure shouldn’t be allowed to come up in notified eco-sensitive zones and buffer zones.
The second application dealt with the indiscriminate opening of home stays in Chikmagalur without considering its eco-sensitive nature.
Waste management during Kailadevi Mela
The tribunal on September 26, 2019 directed district magistrate of Karauli, Rajasthan to present a report on waste management plan of the Kailadevi Mela. The report should also mention the work undertaken to dispose of garbage and remove encroachments from nallahs and rivers, the tribunal added.
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