Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal
Construction and Demolition Waste
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) filed its report before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) September 25, 2020 on steps taken to manage construction and demolition (C&D) waste in Delhi. The report was in compliance with the NGT order of May 20.
The NGT had directed that steps should be taken to ensure increase of offtake and lifting of C&D recycling material. The capacity for processing of waste needed to be adequately enhanced within a specified timeline. Also, it was not desirable to allow dumping of C&D waste at the Bhalswa landfill site, that had already crossed its capacity.
The report by DPCC stated that approximately 3,900 tonnes per day (TPD) of C&D waste was generated in Delhi. This required dedicated handling mechanisms and disposal.
Accordingly, separate collection and transport infrastructure of C&D waste had been set up, under which, the C&D waste was collected at earmarked sites identified by the three municipal corporations (North Delhi Municipal Corporation, East Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation), New Delhi Municipal Council and Delhi Cantonment Board.
The waste was transported to the C&D processing and recycling facilities in Delhi. There were now four operational C&D waste processing plants in Delhi, with a total capacity of 4,150 TPD. This was after the commissioning of one new C&D waste processing facility at Bakkarwala and the expansion of the C&D waste processing facility’s capacity at Shastri Park to 1,000 TPD, from 500 TPD.
These processing facilities were producing paver blocks, kerb stones, bricks, sand and soil out of the C&D waste. These were being used in infrastructure projects. Thus, fresh requirement of natural resources had been minimised.
Mining in Rajmahal hills
Rampant mining in the Rajmahal hills in Jharkhand’s Sahibganj district was causing damage to the environment, the two-member bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Sonam Phintso Wangdi of the NGT said September 23.
A joint inspection report dated March 12 was filed before the NGT September 21 and was signed by the representatives of Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board (JSPCB), Central Pollution Control Board and the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
The report stated the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority was not in existence in Jharkhand as its tenure expired November 8, 2019 and no new body had been constituted. The report gave details of the crushing units and mining units inspected.
A total environmental compensation of Rs 63,357,000 had been imposed by JSPCB cumulatively on the stone mines and stone crusher units. An amount of Rs 23,625,000 was levied upon 55 stone mines and Rs 39,732,000 against 141 stone crushing units. An environmental compensation amounting to Rs 16,671,000 had been collected by JSPCB from the stone mines and stone crusher units.
The NGT noted it was quite clear that the violation of environmental norms was rampant. The situation had deteriorated in spite of orders passed by the tribunal in the last three years, on account of failure of the statutory regulator in taking adequate action.
The NGT Monitoring Committee (Jammu and Kashmir) filed a report on the disposal of muck and debris down hill slopes and also into the Chenab river and other small rivulets in the Union territory during the four-laning of National Highway-44.
The report was in compliance of the NGT order of March 20, in the matter of Amresh Singh Vs Union of India & Others.
The report informed the tribunal there were violations of environmental norms by the executing agencies engaged by the National Highways Authority of India. These had thrown muck and debris haphazardly, straight down the hills slopes and into the Chenab river and other small rivulets.
This had killed natural flora and fauna and choked the natural flow of the water bodies and contaminated the water.
There was failure in proper preparation and maintenance of the designated dumping sites, wherever and whenever they had been put to use, the report added.
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