Polluter sent packing

Published: Tuesday 15 October 2002

Campaign gathers momentum In yet another step to rid Dal Lake of pollution, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has ordered the closure of Centaur hotel, a subsidiary of Air-India. It was said to be discharging effluents into the waterbody. Acting on the water analysis report submitted by the state pollution control board (spcb), the court observed that the authorities of the five-star hotel had ignored its repeated directions to set right its effluent treatment plant (etp) and treat all its sewerage. Interestingly, it was on the petition of a law student, Syed Iqbal Tahir Geelani, that the court passed the judgment.

The analysis report of the spcb evoked a strong reaction from the court. In the document submitted to the court, the board pointed out that the hotel was one of the largest contributors to pollution in the Dal Lake in terms of suspended solids, oil and grease, chemical oxygen demand (cod) and phosphate. Indicting Centaur, Bilquees Ara, scientific officer of the spcb, says: "When sewage and other effluents containing phosphates or other nutrients enter natural waterbodies, they cause overnutrition leading to eutrophication."

Meanwhile, the court has directed the board to collect samples of all the other hotels around the lake and check their etps.

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