New Delhi: Irked over non-compliance with its order, the National Green Tribunal directed the Uttar Pradesh chief secretary on Monday to file an affidavit within a month and apprise it about the disposal of e-waste from the banks of the Ramganga river in Moradabad.
Observing that the disposal of e-waste is a serious environmental issue, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel took exception to inaction of the district administration to remove the hazardous waste lying on the river bank. The green panel slammed the authorities and said it was unfortunate that the tribunal’s direction remains to be complied with till date.
The order came after the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) informed it that a number of sealed e-waste industries were operating illegally in densely-populated residential areas. It also told the bench that the electricity department failed to snap connection of 27 illegal units and the joint inspection team visited the areas in the vicinity of the Ramganga and found that “heaps of black powder stacked in the open” were found lying on the bank.
The tribunal had earlier imposed an environment compensation of Rs 10 lakh on the Uttar Pradesh government for failing to take action on disposing of the e-waste lying on the banks of the Ramganga River. Advocate Gaurav Bansal, appearing for the petitioner in the case, said that a large number of people are involved in unscientific dismantling and washing of metal rich residue on the banks of the Ramganga and the authorities have failed to take action against them. Earlier, a committee comprising officials of the UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), Moradabad Nagar Nigam, UP Public Works Department and UP Rural Engineering Services had told the tribunal in a report that the e-waste lying on the banks of the Ramganga River contained hazardous chemicals such as chromium and cadmium.
The committee, formed by the NGT, had said that the concentration of metals in the e-waste, which was in the form of black powder, was above the prescribed level. The tribunal had earlier asked the district magistrate to hold a meeting and submit a detailed report on the issue.
The tribunal was hearing a petition filed by scientist Mahendra Pandey, seeking action against illegal processing of electronic waste in Moradabad, Bareilly and Shahjahanpur districts of Uttar Pradesh along the Ramganga river, an important tributary of the Ganga. The green panel had announced that anyone found dumping electronic waste (e-waste) on the banks of the Ramganga river in Moradabad would have to pay Rs 1 lakh as environment compensation.
The bench, which had noted that the Ramganga river was highly polluted, had also made it clear that the environment compensation would vary from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh depending on the quantum of the waste dumped.
The river, which spans a length of 596 km, carries a BOD (biochemical oxygen demand) load of 128 tonnes per day and is polluted by heavy discharge from various industries such as sugar, distillery, pulp and paper, textile and dyeing, it had noted.