Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (January 11, 2024)

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 11 January 2024

Fresh reports from Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh over Yamuna rejuvenation

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) January 9, 2024 declared reports filed by the governments of Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh on the rejuvenation of the Yamuna river “deficient” and ordered the submission of new reports within four weeks. 

The court pointed out that in the case of Delhi, of the 22 drains meeting the Yamuna, only nine have been tapped. Untapped 13 drains are still discharging huge quantities of sewage (2,976.4 million litres per day (MLD)). 

Najafgarh and Shahdara drains, which are major sources of sewage discharge (507.4 million gallons per day (MGD), are unfeasible for interception, the reports said. No timeline was disclosed for completion of an interceptor sewer project to divert the flow of these two drains.

There is a gap of 222 MGD in sewage treatment, so untreated sewage is being discharged into Yamuna, the NGT pointed out.

In the case of Haryana, the court pointed out that treated and untreated sewage are mixed together, making all efforts futile. The Haryana report did not provide the location of sewage treatment plants (STP) with respect to each town and in context of each drain joining the Yamuna, it said. The connectivity of 378,866 households to the sewer lines is yet to be provided, the NGT added.

In the case of Uttar Pradesh, out of 14 drains in Ghaziabad, only one has been tapped and one drain in Noida remains untapped. Ninety MLD of treated sewage, instead of being utilised, is simply discharged into the Ghazipur drain, which meets the Yamuna. Untreated sewage of 150 MLD is reaching Yamuna via the Hindon river, the court said.

The data on faecal coliform for STPs in Noida has not been disclosed either, it added.

Illegal mining in Tamia, Chhindwara district 

The NGT, January 9, 2024, directed notices be issued to Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB); Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhopal, and collector and district magistrate, Chhindwara over illegal sand mining in Tamia, Chhindwara district

MPPCB and collector and district magistrate, Chhindwara were directed to ascertain the factual position on the spot and file their response before the central zone bench, Bhopal.

The application was registered suo motu on the basis of a news article published in newspaper Patrika, December 18, 2023.

The news report stated that illegal sand mining is threatening the river and rivulets in the area and water level of the rivers is going down. The news item also disclosed the seizure of three tractors loaded with sand 24 kilometres from Tamia. It further alleged that sand was being illegally mined in the open, but no action is being taken.

Joint committee to look into distillery dumping effluent into water source, Kasauli

The principal bench of NGT, January 9, 2024, took suo motu cognisance of a distillery dumping effluent into a water source in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh.

The court directed a joint committee to carry out the spot inspection, ascertain the factual position of the spot, the extent of water pollution in the Kund (water source) caused by Mohan Meakin Pvt Ltd and the remedial measures needed.

The committee was asked to file the report a week before the next date of hearing, March 7, 2024.

The original application was registered suo motu on the basis of a news article, Kasauli Distillery dumps effluent into water source, supply affected appearing in newspaper The Tribune on December 15, 2023.

As per the article, the Kasauli based plant dumped effluents into a natural source of water in Kasauli Kund, polluting it. Considering the possibility of diseases by drinking water polluted by effluents, the water supply from that source was stopped.

The report further stated that in the sample analysis the water was not found to be fit for human and cattle consumption.

The NGT observed that the article raised substantial issues relating to compliance of the environment norms and directed notices be issued to the Himachal Pradesh Pollution Control Board, Central Pollution Control Board, deputy commissioner / district magistrate, Solan, among others.

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