Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (October 12, 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 12 October 2020

Tiruppur coir industry

Five contentious coir processing units in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruppur district were found to be surrounded by dry agricultural land, a joint committee reported to the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

The panel was constituted to comply with a January 7, 2020 NGT order; the report is on ground water quality near a coir industry cluster in Kangeyam taluk.

The units at Paranchervazhi village claimed they have been out of operation since February due to lack of export orders, the report said.

The tribunal had sought a detailed water-quality test for areas within a 20 kilometre radius of the units, where there are dyeing units too. It wanted to find out the difference in the quality, particularly the total dissolved solid (TDS) level. A Joint Committee was constituted to look into the matter.

The units were under ‘white’ category, after the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) latest re-categorisation.

The committee found that:

  • The units were boring out ground water for domestic needs as well as manufacturing
  • There were no villages except a small homestead within a 50 metre radius
  • The locations were surrounded by dry lands in all directions
  • The units had arranged to sprinkle water in the decorticator section; the disintegrator section was enclosed with wooden sheets
  • The units provided collection-cum-recycling tanks for excess water from coconut husk-wetting section and sprinkling section

Among the five units, two were involved in coir brick / blocks manufacturing activity. These did not use water for manufacturing. Hence, trade effluent did not arise.

Analysis of samples from the other three indicated that there was no significant contribution of organic pollutants and lignin in the waste water.

The results of the lab study carried out with the coir pith revealed that there was no major contribution of TDS by the pith to the water.

Karnataka green labs

The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) reported to the NGT on accreditation for environmental laboratories.

The state has only three such private labs recognised by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).

The state has more than 65,000 working industries; they need water, air, noise and soil samples monitoring according to the Water and Air Act. It is impossible to get the samples analysed by these limited MoEF&CC recognised laboratories.

Also, it was not practical to analyse samples at labs located far away from an industry.

The KSPCB chairperson extended by six months the time to get recognition from the ministry by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL)-accredited laboratories.

This will help industries comply with mandatory tests like those of water, air, noise and soil.

The report requested the NGT to permit the NABL accredited laboratories to get MoEF&CC recognition in reasonable time in the interest of the environment and public at large.

The autonomous NABL, under the Department of Science & Technology, was established to provide third-party assessment of quality and technical competence for testing and calibration laboratories.

Mumbai Trans Harbour Link

The NGT October 9 dismissed an application against coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearance by the MoEF&CC for Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL).

An appeal was filed against the January 25, 2016 clearance in favour of Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) under 2011 CRZ Notification provisions framed under the Environment (Protection) [EP] Act, 1986.

It alleged the project would gravely impact Mumbai and Navi Mumbai coastal ecology. Applicant Dileep B Nevatia said the project was approved in violation of the EP Act, the EP Rules, 1986, the EIA Notification 2006 and the CRZ Notification 2011.

The project, proposed in 1992, involved construction of a bridge between Sewri to Nhava.

The NGT dismissed the application and said all requisite safeguards were incorporated. The project proponent had also filed an affidavit September 19 undertaking to take all mitigation measures and to comply with all the environmental norms.

Guduvancheri lake

Maraimalai Nagar Municipality in Tamil Nadu’s Chengalpattu was taking effective steps to collect daily waste and disposing of the same, following the Solid Waste Rules 2016, according to a counter-affidavit by the municipal commissioner.

The affidavit cited a joint committee report, which inspected the area in question and stated no solid waste or sewage discharge was being done by the Panchayat.

The matter related to pollution of Guduvancheri lake. A newspaper report said sewage from households in Nadivaram-Guduvancheri town panchayats and Maraimalai municipality was being discharged in the lake, apart from effluents from private hospitals and clinics.

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