Governance

Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (August 25, 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: Tuesday 25 August 2020

Hazardous chemicals

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on August 24, 2020, directed that off-site and on-site emergency plans must be finalised in accordance with the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989.

This must be jointly coordinated by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), with all concerned authorities and entities for storage and handling of the substances. Such action has to be concluded at the earliest, but positively within one month, the order said.

The NGT order was in response to the application filed in the court on the 700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in a Chennai warehouse from 2015 onwards.

A report filed by the TNPCB informed the tribunal that a total of 37 containers with 697 Tonnes of ammonium nitrate was sent to Salvo Explosives & Chemicals Pvt Ltd, Ankireddypali village, Keesara road, Keesara mandal, Medchal Malkajgiri, Telangana — which is a detonator manufacturing unit having license for ammonium nitrate.

Sewage pollution

The NGT directed the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board (RSPCB) on August 24 to take necessary steps in the matter of discharge of untreated sewage and industrial effluents on the agriculture lands at Nokha village in Bikaner district.

The Municipal Board, Nokha was asked to take steps for connecting sewage generation points to the sewage treatment plant (STP) and utilise the treated effluent for non-potable and agricultural uses.

A report filed by the RSPCB stated that the Municipal Board, Nokha had established STP having a capacity of one MLD. However, the treatment plant was not operational and the untreated effluent was by-passed. The STP was not having consent to establish or consent to operate from the RSPCB.

On the basis of the inspection report and sample analysis reports, the SPCB had issued show cause notice dated February 28, 2020 to the executive officer, Municipal Board, Nokha.

Hotels require CTO: NGT

The NGT in its ruling on August 24 in the matter of Pramod Kumar Agarwal Vs Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board said that hotels cannot avoid obligation under the Water Act to prevent discharge of any untreated pollutants.

Moreover, section 26 of the Act applies to an establishment set up prior to 1974. The regulatory framework of Water and Air Acts was applicable to the appellants for running hotels where polluted water and air generation potential were not ruled out.

Two applications were filed before the NGT (one of it by Sushila Touring Hotel) challenging the orders of the Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board.

The SPCB had asked the hotels that arrangements must be made for sewage treatment. Also, consent to operate should be taken in terms of the Water Act, 1974 and Air Act, 1981.

The main contention of the appellant hotels was that they were operating since 1980. Section 26 of the Water Act does not require them to apply for consent to operate, unless a date was notified by the state government. The hotels do not have any plant or machinery or generator set or boiler. Therefore, the Air Act also does not apply to them, the hotels said. 

Dredging in Krishna river

The CPCB was given more time by the NGT to submit a report on whether 'dredging' in the Godavari and Krishna river beds and their tributaries in the state of Telangana by the state authorities was illegal mining.

This allegation was levelled against the state authorities by the non-profit, Readiness for Empowerment through Legitimate Action (RELA).

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