Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (October 19, 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: Monday 19 October 2020

Legacy waste

The Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) filed a report on an abandoned solid waste dump yard at Kureepuzha, Kollam district and the management of legacy waste in it. The dump yard is situated amid residential buildings and two temples. A part of it is located on the banks of the Ashtamudi lake, a Ramsar site.

Waste dumping was discontinued around 2012 due to public protests. The petitioners were aggrieved by the unscientific construction, management and operation of the waste management facility of Kollam Corporation at Kureepuzha. The case was originally filed before the High Court of Kerala in 2012 and was transferred to the NGT after that.

A team of KSPCB officers, led by the chief environmental engineer, Thiruvanathapuram, inspected the place September 8, 2020.

The Kollam Corporation has about 16 acres of land at the spot, the report said. The whole area is protected with fencing. There are several houses and two temples located very near to the dump yard.

About half of this area is filled with legacy waste. It is protected by high walls and fencing. The legacy waste was seen in a large heap, covered with creepers and small plants, extending to the Ashtamudi lake, by the team. One of the temples is within 50 metres of the dump.

A large shed constructed for the purpose of solid waste treatment with some machinery, was seen in the other half of the area. A sanitary landfill, partly constructed, was also seen adjacent to the shed. A considerable portion of the sanitary landfill site was in the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) area and hence, the work was not completed.

Water sampling was conducted in the area near the legacy waste site by the KSPCB officers September 22, 2020. Water samples were collected from 12 nearby water bodies including wells, temple pond and the Ashtamudi lake.

The results showed that the water quality was improving though the well water at present cannot be used for drinking purposes without conventional treatment and disinfection.

Lonavla solid waste management 

The Lonavla Municipal Council filed an affidavit with the NGT on the treatment of municipal solid waste (MSW) in the town.

An MSW plant at Varsoli had been commissioned and was in operation since October 5, 2018. The total MSW generation of Lonavla town was about 40 MT per day. Eighteen MT of this was wet waste and the remainder dry waste.

A segregator had been erected in the Varsoli plant. The wet waste of 5 MT was treated through a biogas plant at the Varsoli site. The gas generated thus was used for lighting. Of this, 2 MT was treated by pit composting plants with culture.

For the dry waste, the recycled material was picked up through the process of rag pickers. For inert material, the area was designated for landfill. At that site, there was a legacy waste of 144,000 MT. Of this, 45,000 MT had been treated. The remainder was in process. It would also be treated within three to six months.

Brick kilns in Baghpat

The NGT October 15 directed concerned authorities in Uttar Pradesh to keep a vigil against the operation of illegal brick kilns to protect the air quality in the National Capital Region.

The issue for consideration was the remedial action against illegal operation of brick kilns in Baghpat district, Uttar Pradesh where 600 brick kilns were illegally operating.

The additional district magistrate, Ghaziabad, in its report September 14 had said that the brick kilns had been closed down.

The NGT listed the matter for further consideration January 11, 2021.

Harmu river pollution

The single-judge Bench of Justice Sonam Phintso Wangdi of the NGT directed the Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board to monitor the performance of sewage treatment plants (STP), to check the discharge of untreated sewage and wastewater into the Harmu river in Ranchi.

The case related to mitigation of pollution of Harmu river.

The Ranchi Municipal Corporation, in its affidavit, stated that works on as many as nine STPs for treatment of sewage and waste water had been completed. This was the most crucial factor for getting the Harmu river free of pollution and cleaned.

The NGT by order August 26 directed the state pollution control board to furnish information as to whether the discharge norms of the STPs were being maintained in accordance with the prescribed standards and also to furnish a report on the quality of water of the river.

The affidavit filed by the state pollution control board in compliance of the above direction indicated that all parameters were being maintained except for biological oxygen demand, which was on the higher side. 

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