Green tribunal asks Centre, state to chalk out time-bound action plan to prevent and control pollution in the national river
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) to issue notices to 687 highly polluting industries, especially sugar mills and a dairy farms, in the state which are polluting the Ganga.
The tribunal also asked the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Union Ministry of Water Resources, the Uttar Pradesh government and UPPCB to work out the ways to check, prevent and control pollution and to chalk out a time-bound action plan.
The CPCB had informed NGT that it had already prepared a list of grossly polluting industries last year and the report was made public in December 2013. In the report, CPCB had named 764 grossly polluting industries discharging waste water into the main stem of the Ganga (either directly or through drains) and its two important tributaries, Kali-east and Ramganga in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal.
The NGT order was given on a petition filed by Krishan Kant Singh of non-profit Social Action for Forests and Environment (SAFE) which complained that Simbhaoli Sugar Mills and Gopaljee Milk Foods were discharging effluents into a drain that flowed directly into the Ganga near Garhmukteswar. Singh pleaded that the discharge could harm the Ramsar Site which is known to have rich aquatic biodiversity.
'How did they obtain compliance certification?'
NGT also ruled that it was clear that the units are highly polluting and wondered how they have been securing compliance certificates in the past. It directed the government agencies to take effective steps to curb pollution. “If effective steps are not taken to curb the pollution we will be compelled to pass certain coercive orders in accordance with law,” the bench, headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, said. Next hearing of the case is on May 6.
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