Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal
Delhi construction waste
Nearly 3,900 tonnes per day (TPD) of construction and demolition (C&D) waste was generated in Delhi that required dedicated handling mechanism and disposal. For the purpose, separate collection and transport infrastructure of C&D waste has been set up, under which the waste would be collected at earmarked sites identified by the three municipal corporations, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and Delhi Cantonment Board (DCB).
The same would be transported to the C&D waste processing and recycling facilities in Delhi. This was mentioned in the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) report filed before the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
There are four operational C&D waste processing and recycling plants in Delhi with a total capacity of 4,150 TPD. This happened after a new C&D waste processing facility at Bakkarwala (in South DMC area) was commissioned and the capacity of the one at Shastri Park expanded to 1,000 TPD from 500 TPD.
In these processing facilities, paver blocks, kerb stones, bricks, aggregates, sand and soil of Bureau of Indian Standards were being produced out of the C&D waste, which were further used in infrastructure projects. Therefore, fresh requirement of natural resources has been minimised, the report stated.
With the existing and proposed processing facilities, it has been expected that the entire C&D waste generated in Delhi would be managed properly in a scientific manner, according to the DPCC report.
The NGT in its November 2, 2020 order noted that off-take by the departments concerned has yet to increase and the same needed to be further monitored.
In view of the above, the NGT directed further monitoring be done and status reviewed by the chief secretary, Delhi on a periodical basis.
Stone mining in village Banala
Stone crushers of Afcons International Ltd at village Banala, district Mandi, Himachal Pradesh were violating environmental norms, according to the application filed by Ashish Shaunik before the NGT.
It stated that there was a violation of siting criteria as the stone crushers were within the prohibited distance of Tirthan River, a national highway, a government school, reservoir of Larji dam (126 megawatt Larji hydropower project), the Great Himalayan National Park and Tirthan Wildlife Sanctuary.
The NGT directed the Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board, PCCF (chief wildlife warden), director (Department of Environment) and district magistrate, Mandi to look into the matter and take action.
Drains in place of sewer lines
The NGT November 2 directed the Integrated Drain Management Cell set up under the chief secretary, Delhi, to look into construction of drains in place of sewer lines at Chhatarpur Enclave.
At least 1,700 unauthorised colonies, drains, septic tanks and soak pits had been constructed that could be a source of groundwater pollution.
Rain water harvesting systems were to be constructed for which directions were issued by the NGT, but it was not being done, the application filed by Mahesh Chandra Saxena to the NGT said. The result was that rain water was mixing in the waste water.
It stated that the Chhatapur Enclave was a big colony and that the Delhi government had started construction of drains instead of pipelines for collection of sewage.
Drinking water pipelines were passing through the drains. On account of open drains, there were bacteria, mosquitoes as well as sewage entering the houses. Waste water from septic tanks was being discharged into the groundwater, the application said.
Air pollution in Telangana’s Tandur
The Telangana State Pollution Control Board in its report to the NGT informed the court of the steps taken to combat air pollution in Tandur town, Vikarabad district.
A joint committee constituted by the orders of the NGT had given a number of recommendations to combat the problem of air pollution in Tandur. The committee recommended that the government hasten the process of constructing a by-pass road in Tandur to avoid the large movement of heavy vehicles, which is one of the main sources of air pollution there.
The revenue divisional officer (RDO) said land acquisition for the proposed by-pass road had been completed. The district collector and magistrate directed the RDO, Tandur to identify land required for disposal of stone chips and sludge on a permanent basis.
It suggested the possibility of allocation of 300 acres of land for relocation of all stone-cutting and polishing units outside the Tandur town as a long-term measure to prevent air pollution. The RDO said a large extent of vacant land in the Gingurthy village falling outside the limits of municipality was identified long back and is still available.
Much of the sludge and part of the stone chips were being consumed by the local sub-industries for manufacturing of gypsum and for other allied utilities. The areas so identified for dumping will act as a central place for both storing and lifting operations of waste for the stakeholders.
The report mentioned that roads were being regularly cleaned manually and the municipal commissioner, Tandur, had sent proposals for sweeping machines. Water tankers were being used for sprinkling of water on roads.
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