‘Install online air monitoring systems, RO in Singrauli’

'Install online air monitoring systems, RO in Singrauli'
‘Install online air monitoring systems, RO in Singrauli’

The National Green Tribunal has directed the Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh governments to to install online air quality monitoring systems in Singrauli and Sonebhadra districts after a plea alleged pollution in these areas due to industrial and mining activities.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also ordered installation of reverse osmosis (RO) water purification plants so that the residents get potable water.

Land for installation of RO plant would be provided by the state government or the village panchayat and the entire cost for installation and maintenance would be borne by the industries, the bench said.

“We direct the Member Secretary of state pollution control boards, District Magistrates and the concerned officer of the industry or the thermal plant to ensure that every village in Singrauli region including coal mining area, is provided with an RO plant to ensure that residents of the village get potable water.

“All the industries shall be liable to bear the cost in discharge of their corporate social responsibility as well as on the fact that the existing pollution is attributable to them in one way or the other,” the bench said.

All the stone crushers which are operating in these regions without permission from the competent authority should be shut down without further notice, the NGT said.

“The stone crushers which are permitted to operate would also be responsible for installation of RO system at the place where there are number of stone crushers running and they would be guided by the same directions as above,” it said.

The tribunal formed two supervisory committees in both the states comprising secretary of the Environment department of the respective states, Member Secretaries of state pollution control boards, District Magistrates and others which would submit a monthly report.

The order came as the NGT disposed of a plea filed by advocate Advocate Ashwani Dubey opposing power projects in Singrauli and Sonebhadra districts on the ground that they were causing air and water pollution.

The lawyer had also opposed grant of sanction for any new project or expansion of the existing units till an action plan for improving environment is implemented.

The petition had also sought that existing power plants and other industries in the area be directed to install modern devices and equipment for controlling or minimising pollution they are allegedly causing.

Earlier, a core committee set up by the NGT to inspect areas in Singrauli and Sonebhadra districts of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, where coal mines and thermal plants are operating, had submitted its interim report on the environment and the health of the people.

In a detailed report, the committee had submitted that heavy industrial activities in the region were a major source of pollution in the area and the ground water in the villages near Singrauli was contaminated with high fluoride and mercury concentration.

In 2015, the tribunal had constituted a core committee for monitoring of potential hazards of industrial development in Singrauli area and five sub committees for quantification of industrial pollution and impact assessment of water, air, soil and health in and around Singrauli.

It had also directed that expenditure in conducting the inspection, survey and studies would be met by the respective state governments for the region and they may be permitted to recover it from industrial units, thermal power and coal mines.

( Source – PTI )

Plea in NGT against Tank Road encroachments

Plea in NGT against Tank Road encroachments
Plea in NGT against Tank Road encroachments

A plea alleging encroachment by shops resulting in traffic jams at a clothes hub on Tank Road here has been filed in the National Green Tribunal.

The petition, which is likely to come up before a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, claimed that a number of unauthorised shops were running on Tank Road without permission from the authorities concerned.

The plea filed by local resident Kunal has alleged that several plots, belonging to the Delhi Development Authority, have been encroached through illegal construction of shops and digging of illegal basement in connivance with various authorities.

The petition, filed through advocate Ranjan Khatumaria, claimed that many shopkeepers have constructed a number of iron gates at various entrance points in the market without permission.

“The construction of these gates is reducing the width of the road resulting in massive traffic jams in an area which is already reeling under the pressure of heavy vehicular congestion,” it said.

It has sought directions to the authority to monitor the air and noise pollution in the area and ensure strict action against all the illegal activities in the area.

A number of complaints and representations were made before the authorities but till date no action has been taken which has led the petitioner to approach the NGT, the plea claimed.

( Source – PTI )

Submit plan for waste management plant at Ranikhera: NGT

Submit plan for waste management plant at Ranikhera: NGT
Submit plan for waste management plant at Ranikhera: NGT

The National Green Tribunal today directed the civic bodies and the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC) to come out with a clear mechanism for setting up an integrated waste management plant at Ranikhera near the Delhi-Haryana border.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the North and East Delhi Municipal Corporations, Delhi Development Authority and the DSIIDC to take clear instructions on the issue.

The green panel noted that the pieces of land at Ranikhera which have been earmarked for setting up of the waste management plant exist in four different pieces.

“All these lands are abutting land which belongs to DSIIDC and it is stated to be presently laying vacant.

Obviously the land is under DSIIDC is meant for industrial use,” it noted.

The green panel proposed that the land which belonged to DSIIDC can be used for setting up the plant and it can be given a different piece of land near the area measuring 16 acres for industrial use.

During the hearing, advocate Balendu Shekhar said that it was not feasible for the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) to dump waste at Ranikhera as it was located at a far off distance from its Ghazipur landfill site.

He also said the corporation does not have adequate number of trucks to carry the waste at the proposed site and sought land at Ghonda Gujran in East Delhi from DDA for waste dumping.

Advocate Kush Sharma, appearing for the DDA, told the bench that the land sought by EDMC fell in zone “O” of the Yamuna floodplains where construction activity has been prohibited by the NGT.

The tribunal then asked the municipal corporations to seek instructions on the issue of setting integrated waste management plan at Ranikhera and posted the matter for hearing on December 13.

The NGT had earlier restrained the DSIIDC from carrying out any construction on land at Ranikhera near the Delhi- Haryana border, which was earmarked for dumping waste but was not used till now.

The NGT had slammed DSIIDC for giving priority to industrial activity at the site and said no one was willing to provide a solution to the problem of waste generation in the city.

The tribunal, which is looking into the issue of alternative landfill sites, had earlier ordered inspection of land at Ranikhera.

It had directed the officers of the Delhi Development Authority, Delhi Jal Board, North Delhi Municipal Corporation and DSIIDC to visit the site and apprise the tribunal about the status of the land.

The direction came while hearing a plea for setting up of additional landfill sites at all available locations which can be used for waste management.

After the recent Ghazipur landfill collapse, the tribunal was working on alternative sites for dumping of waste, including the 50-acre site in Ranikhera located on the Delhi- Haryana border.

The site was identified at least two years ago, but waste disposal couldn’t begin because of the differences between the authorities.

The landfill sites at Bhalswa, Ghazipur and Okhla are already over-saturated.

The green panel had earlier slammed the Delhi government and the municipal corporations in te city over dumps of waste overflowing from various landfill sites in the city and sought a status report from them.

It had last year constituted a committee to look into the working of waste-to-energy plants in the national capital.

It had also asked Central Pollution Control Board and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee to approach the Delhi government to provide more landfill sites in the city and maintain them strictly in accordance with the Solid Waste Management Rules of 2016.

( Source – PTI )

NGT raps Punjab, Haryana over their action plan on pollution

NGT raps Punjab, Haryana over their action plan on pollution
NGT raps Punjab, Haryana over their action plan on pollution

The National Green Tribunal today slammed Punjab and Haryana governments for filing generalised action plans to combat air pollution and directed them to refer to its previous judgements on the issue.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also summoned the environment secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan asking them to give a “workable solution” for combating the problem of pollution.

The tribunal took exception that Punjab and Haryana were following the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority’s (EPCA’s) comprehensive action plan and not applying their own mind.

During the proceedings, both the states told the green panel that a slew of measures including stopping construction work, burning waste, shutting schools and monitoring of industries causing emissions will be taken whenever pollution is beyond prescribed limits continuously for 48 hours.

“What is the logic of waiting for 48 hours? There is nothing great about the action plan which you have prepared.

It is your basic function which you have to do all the time.

“Why have you referred to the EPCA’s plan? Why don’t you apply your own brains? In this country, it is a dream to have prescribed norms of air quality,” the bench observed.

When the bench asked the Delhi government its stand on the odd-even scheme, the counsel appearing for it said the government wants to implement it with exceptions and has also filed a review plea in this regard which will be heard tomorrow.

The tribunal had yesterday slammed the Delhi government and the neighbouring states over their action plan on ways to deal with severe air pollution in the city and directed them to file a detailed document to tackle with the problem.

It had observed that air pollution was never at the “normal level” in the national capital and directed the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan to file the action plan afresh.

The counsel for the Delhi government had filed the plan which recommended implementation of odd-even plan, entry of trucks in the city, ban on construction works and disallowing children from playing outside when air quality turns severe.

The counsel for petitioner Vardhaman Kaushik, who had filed plea against worsening air quality in Delhi, had said the action plans submitted by the states were merely “an eye- wash” and they have only “copy-pasted” the recommendations of the Supreme Court appointed EPCA.

Earlier, the NGT had directed the Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and every state pollution control board to file ambient air quality analysis before the tribunal on monthly basis and also put up on their websites to enable the concerned authority to take effective steps to control air pollution.

( Source – PTI )

AoL responsible for damaging Yamuna floodplains: NGT

AoL responsible for damaging Yamuna floodplains: NGT
AoL responsible for damaging Yamuna floodplains: NGT

In a setback to the Art of Living Foundation of spiritual leader Ravi Shankar, the National Green Tribunal today held it responsible for causing damage and environmental degradation of the Yamuna flood plains by holding a three-day cultural extravaganza last year.

While refusing to impose an additional environment fine on the AoL which has already deposited Rs 5 crore, the NGT ordered the DDA to use this amount to restore the floodplains and bill the AoL if the cost is more or return to it the balance if the cost is below that amount.

The AoL termed the verdict as “erroneous and untenable” and said they would move the Supreme Court against it.

Ordering that the Yamuna riverbed should not be used to hold any cultural activity of this kind in future, the green panel directed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to assess the damage caused on floodplains and compute cost of restoration in line with the recommendations of the expert panel appointed by it.

“We hold and declare that AoL is responsible for causing damage and environmental degradation of the floodplain of river Yamuna limited to the area that was awarded to it by DDA and the State of UP, in terms of the report of the High Powered Committee,” the NGT said in its judgement.

The AoL had organised the World Culture Festival from March 11-13, 2016, on the floodplains and constructed an oval-shaped stage over an area of seven acres.

Noting that the AoL has already deposited Rs 5 crore with the DDA, it said “in the event, the expenditure for that purpose on the portion of the land forming part of Phase-II of the project of DDA is found to be in excess of Rs 5 crore, DDA would be at liberty to recover the said amount and AoL shall be liable to pay the said amount on demand.

“If finally the expenditure to be incurred on that amount is less than Rs 5 crore, the remaining amount would be refunded by DDA to AoL,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

The tribunal rapped the DDA over its failure to maintain the natural features and ecology of the Yamuna floodplains and said it has failed to exercise its statutory duty in consonance with the environmental laws in force.

It, however, refrained from imposing environmental compensation on the DDA on the ground that it has already planned construction of a bio-diversity park and improvement of floodplains from its own funds.

The bench, also comprising Justice Jawad Rahim and expert member B S Sajwan, said that even the Delhi Pollution Control Committee had failed to exercise due caution in granting permission to AoL. It should have considered the request for permission in accordance with environmental laws in force.

Before the pronouncement of the judgement, the NGT was informed that Justice R S Rathore, who had earlier heard the matter, had recused from the bench.

In a statement, the AoL termed the verdict as “erroneous and untenable” and said they did not agree with it and will approach the Supreme Court.

“The Art of Living will approach the Supreme Court. We are not in agreement with the verdict. AoL is disappointed with the decision taken by the NGT for damaging Yamuna floodplains during its World Culture Festival.

“We do not agree with the verdict. Our submissions have not been dealt with/considered. We will appeal to the Supreme Court. We are confident that we will get justice before the Supreme Court,” AoL said.

Yamuna activist Manoj Misra, who had claimed that severe damage was done to the river and the floodplains and had filed a plea in the NGT in this regard, termed the decision as a victory for Yamuna.

“Our contention has been vindicated. We had said that the damage was caused to the floodplains and the NGT has upheld our plea. This is victory of river Yamuna. I hope a strong message will go across the country to those who are damaging the floodplains of the rivers. People need to know that river floodplain is not waste land,” Misra said.

The expert panel had earlier told the NGT that an estimated Rs 42.02 crore would be required to restore Yamuna floodplains which was ravaged due to the cultural extravaganza.

Misra had claimed that severe damage was done to the river and the floodplains and it must be restored by authorities concerned.

( Source – PTI )

Keep round-the-clock vigil at Sarojini Nagar market: NGT

Keep round-the-clock vigil at Sarojini Nagar market: NGT
Keep round-the-clock vigil at Sarojini Nagar market: NGT

The National Green Tribunal today directed the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to maintain a round-the-clock vigil at the Sarojini Nagar market here to ensure that vehicles are not parked on the streets around it.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the civic body and the traffic police to ensure deployment of appropriate force at the famous South Delhbi market place.

“You (traffic police) deploy force even at night so that people don’t park their vehicles on the road,” the bench observed.

The observation came after advocate Sakshi Popli, appearing for NDMC, told the tribunal that though people were parking their vehicles at the multi-level facility during the day, the shopkeepers were parking their cars on the roads at night.

She informed the bench that the NDMC was still facing non-cooperation from the local shopkeepers as they were unwilling to take monthly passes for the multi-level parking which costs around Rs 2,000.

The lawyer said additional police force should be deployed to ban surface parking in the market.

Advocate Tarunvir Singh Khehar, appearing for the Delhi traffic police, told the NGT that they have towed away 11,500 cars till date.

Rejecting a plea by the market association to park vehicles on the roads, the NGT had on November 17 banned parking in the market and said the violators would be fined Rs 5,000 as environmental compensation, in addition to the fines mentioned under the Motor Vehicles Act.

The green panel had directed the shopkeepers and the shoppers to park their vehicles at the multi-level parking lot built by the NDMC, which remains open round-the-clock.

The NGT had directed the corporation to consider reducing the parking fees for shopkeepers who live in the area.

It had also directed the NDMC to cancel the contract of the contractors engaged in surface parking business in the popular market.

It had directed the officials of Delhi Traffic Police and the enforcement department of the Delhi government to be present continuously for two weeks near the multi-level parking lot and ensure compliance of its directions.

( Source – PTI )

Can you differentiate between human, bird excreta: NGT to CPCB

Can you differentiate between human, bird excreta: NGT to CPCB
Can you differentiate between human, bird excreta: NGT to CPCB

The National Green Tribunal today directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to take a clear stand whether it can differentiate between human excreta and bird poop after a retired army officer approached it alleging that faeces were splattered from aircraft on his South Delhi house before Diwali.

Aviation regulator DGCA maintained that it was impossible to dump human waste mid-air from aircraft toilet and that bird droppings had landed on the complainant’s house, after which the green panel had ordered testing of the excreta samples.

During the hearing, the counsel for the CPCB told the NGT that they don’t have equipment to test whether the excreta sample, taken from ex-army officer’s house, belongs to human or bird.

Earlier, the CPCB had said that there were traces of faecal coliform in the samples, indicating presence of human waste.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar today rapped the apex pollution monitoring body over changing its stand on whether it can differentiate between human and bird excreta and asked it to seek clear instructions on the issue.

“It is surprising that CPCB being such a big organisation does not have sufficient equipments to test whether it is human excreta or bird. CPCB would take clear instructions whether it is fully equipped to determine the contents of the excreta,” the bench said.

It was hearing a plea of Lt Gen (Retd) Satwant Singh Dahiya who has sought action against the airlines and levy of hefty fines on them for endangering the health of residents

The counsel appearing for the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), however, said that it was impossible to empty the waste tanks of the aircraft mid-air.

He told the bench that there was a manual system by which the human waste tank is emptied after the flight lands and by no means the cabin crew can operate the tank during the flight.

Responding to the submissions, Dahiya alleged that there was fresh incident of human waste dumping at his house in Vasant Enclave here after which he called the DGCA and the CPC, who took samples from the location.

The matter will be heard tomorrow.

The NGT had asked the aviation watchdog to issue a circular making it clear that aircraft would be subjected to surprise inspection to check whether these tanks are empty or not.

It had last year held that if “any aircraft, airlines and the handling services of registered aircraft” were found to be dumping human waste in air or toilet tanks were found to have been emptied before landing, they shall be subjected to environmental compensation of Rs 50,000 per case of default.

The NGT had also asked the DGCA to carry out surprise inspection of aircraft landing at the airport to check that their toilet tanks are not empty while landing and prevent waste from being splashed over residential areas and any other place before landing.

( Source – PTI )

Submit report on hotels at Mahipalpur: NGT to Delhi govt

Submit report on hotels at Mahipalpur: NGT to Delhi govt
Submit report on hotels at Mahipalpur: NGT to Delhi govt

The National Green Tribunal has directed the AAP government and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to submit a report on hotels operating at Mahipalpur near the IGI airport here.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to the city government, the DPCC, hotel Jindal Palace and others while seeking their reply in two weeks.

“Issue notice to the respondents. The NCT of Delhi and DPCC shall submit a report of the hotels that are operating in Mahipalpur before the next date of hearing,” the bench said while posting the matter for hearing on December 14.

The direction came on a plea filed by Bijwasan MLA Colonel (retd) Devinder Sehrawat seeking action against hotels operating without requisite permission and causing environmental pollution in Mahilpalpur area here.

The plea, filed through advocate Rakesh Kumar Yadav, claimed that the MLA received a complaint from a resident welfare association about hotels which were operating in an illegal manner without obtaining due licenses and no objection certificate from the authorities.

According to the plea, there were several lapses in these hotels which were allegedly withdrawing water through borewells and they lacked permission from the Central Ground Water Authority.

“Most of the hotels are operating illegally without obtaining proper licences. Due to the commercial activity, the residents are facing health hazards due to the air and water pollution caused by them as food and solid waste is being discharged in sewage line resulting in blockage,” the plea said.

( Source – PTI )

Pollution in poultry farms: NGT notice to Centre

Pollution in poultry farms: NGT notice to Centre
Pollution in poultry farms: NGT notice to Centre

A plea highlighting environmental pollution caused by the improper waste disposal and unregulated use of antibiotics in poultry farms has prompted the National Green Tribunal to seek a response from the Centre and others.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and sought their reply in three weeks.

The matter was listed for hearing on January 9 next year.

The tribunal was hearing the plea filed by animal activist Gauri Maulekhi seeking quashing of the CPCB’s 2015 guidelines exempting commercial poultry farms from the provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act and delegating the power to local authorities.

As per the guidelines, farms which have more than one lakh birds are required to take clearance under the section 25 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, while poultries with 5,000 birds have to register themselves with the local authorities.

The plea claimed that the poultry farms caused extensive pollution in the surrounding areas as they have thousand of birds in intensive confinement, resulting in huge accumulation of waste.

“This huge quantum of waste is seldom disposed scientifically. The poultries impact the ecology and the living of those who surround the farm. Pests which are attracted to the farms make it difficult for the people living in the vicinity.

“In order to keep thousands of birds alive in such intensive confinement and unclean surroundings it becomes important to administer non-therapeutic antibiotics on a regular basis. The administration of these antibiotics adversely affects the health of those who live around the farms and those who consume the birds or eggs,” the plea said.

It has also sought directions to regulate the use of antibiotics in the poultry farms so that these drugs are not administered indiscriminately.

( Source – PTI )

NGT appoints local commissioner to inspect Bhiwadi industries

NGT appoints local commissioner to inspect Bhiwadi industries
NGT appoints local commissioner to inspect Bhiwadi industries

The National Green Tribunal today appointed a local commissioner to inspect the industrial clusters in the Bhiwadi area in Rajasthan’s Alwar district and sought detailed report on pollution levels in the area.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar appointed advocate Sumeer Sodhi as local commissioner and directed him to inspect the industries tomorrow.

“There is a serious controversy being raised before us as to the extent of high pollution on the surface as well as ground water,” the bench said.

“The counsel appearing for the applicant has produced the water quality extracted from the bore-well which is highly contaminated. A controversy was raised with reference to the source and content of the samples produced before us,” it said.

The tribunal directed the local commissioner to prepare a comprehensive report on industrial clusters, common effluent treatment plant and sought information on drainage and collection of waste.

“He shall also observe as to how many major industries are having their own effluent treatment plant and also collect samples from different sources. He will be accompanied by officers of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), regional officer of Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board and the police officials,” the bench said.

The tribunal said that the collected samples will be divided into two equal proportions and it would be analysed at laboratories of the CPCB and the Shriram Institute for Industrial Research at Delhi.

The fees of the local commissioner would be Rs 30,000 which will be in addition to the expenses incurred during the inspection.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Sumitra Devi, a local ward member of the Dharuhera Municipal Committee, and others highlighting the menace of water pollution faced by local residents of about 20 villages caused by the Bhiwadi and Khuskhera industrial areas.

( Source – PTI )