Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (December 13, 2023)

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 14 December 2023

Stagnation of oil in Buckingham Canal after cyclone Michaung

A report by Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) submitted to the National Green Tribunal confirmed traces of oil in the Buckingham canal, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. 

A private television news channel reported about heavy traces of oil being found in Buckingham Canal, consequently reaching Ennore Creek, which stuck on the vessels / boats used by the fishermen, affecting their activities.

Based on the news, a team of officials of the TNPCB initially inspected the said area on December 7, 2023. The team initially visited the Buckingham Canal stretch from Kargil Nagar bridge to Kodungaiyur. During the inspection, the team observed stagnation of oil in the canal, mainly on the banks. 

The ingress of oil was observed to occur primarily through the storm water drain from the Manali industrial area and its confluence with the Buckingham canal.

The team also noticed stagnant water mixed with oil adjoining the storm outlet near the south gate of Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd (CPCL), which was slowly contributing to oil mixing in the canal. Oil was also found flowing in from the upstream of CPCL from Kodungaiyur/Tondiarpet areas; Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, Tondiarpet terminal and container terminal located along the Buckingham canal at Korrukupet and Kodungaiyur areas.

According to CPCL, heavy rainfall occurred on December 3-4, 2023 and the release of excess water from Poondi and Puzhal reservoirs resulted in heavy floods in and around the Manali industrial area, including the CPCL campus.

When CPCL pumped the stagnant water to save the installation, the oily matter sticking on the ground could have found its way to the water body, the report said. There was no leakage from the tank or process areas, including pipelines carrying raw materials and products. 

A meeting was convened by the TNPCB to expeditiously address the issue on December 8, 2023 with the oil industries located in Manali, Kodungaiyur and Tondiarpet areas to arrive at a solution for the removal of oil from the canal, the report said. 

CPCL has started to remove the oil from the storm water outlet and, as of December 8, has curtailed the oil reaching the Buckingham Canal, the report added. 

SWM Rules 2016 not implemented properly in Mangalpady Grama Panchayat: Kerala SPCB

Mangalpady Grama Panchayat, Kasargod district in Kerala has failed to implement the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, stated a report filed by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board. The report was filed pursuant to a December 7, 2023 NGT order.

Kubanoor, the waste processing facility, had a processing and recycling unit in Mangalpady Grama Panchayath owned by the local body. The waste treatment plant had a facility for processing wet waste and dry waste. Though the plant was operational for quite some time, later it became inoperative.

A joint inspection with the secretary for the local body was conducted on April 9, 2021. During the inspection, it was found that large quantities of solid waste — mostly plastic, foam, footwear and fabrics — were seen dumped without adequate segregation and process.

This year, the site was inspected on November 3, 2023 by the environmental engineer, district office, Kasargod. During the inspection, the entire site was found covered with thick wild bushes, making it difficult to access. Large quantities of legacy waste and waste collected in the recent past were seen dumped in the site. The waste processing facility was closed. 

The SPCB is initiating further statutory actions against the local body for failing to implement the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

Hindon river pollution

The environment, forest and climate change department of Uttar Pradesh in its report to the NGT, December 6 mentioned the steps taken to control pollution of Hindon river.

As per the latest monitoring report of drains in October 2023, there are 27 drains whose biological oxygen demand (BOD) ranges between 0-150 milligrammes of oxygen per litre. In October 2023, two drains reported a BOD greater than 150 mg/L. Meanwhile, 17 drains had  chemical oxygen demand (COD) levels between 0 and 250 mg/l while 12 drains had COD levels beyond 250 mg/l.

According to the most recent data from the Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam, the total sewage generation in the Hindon river basin is 943.63 million litres per day (MLD). Sewage treatment is handled by 16 STPs with a treatment capacity of 867.5 MLD. The utilisation capacity of 16 STPs is 711.6 MLD.

The state is taking additional steps to bridge the sewage treatment capacity gap, with four STPs of 86 MLD capacity under construction and seven STPs of 221 MLD capacity planned, for a total capacity of 1174.5 MLD by December 2025, according to the report.

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