Green Cover On Both Sides Of Highways Essential To Curb Vehicular Pollution: National Green Tribunal

Green Cover On Both Sides Of Highways Essential To Curb Vehicular Pollution: National Green Tribunal

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) issued the direction after acknowledging that green cover on both sides of highways is absolutely essential to mitigate adverse impact of vehicular pollution on the highways
Green Cover On Both Sides Of Highways Essential To Curb Vehicular Pollution: National Green TribunalThe NGT was hearing an application filed by NGO named Society for Protection of Culture, Heritage, Environment, Traditions and Promotion of National Awareness
Highlights
  • NGT noted that dust leads to increase of PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels
  • Increase in PM 2.5 levels leads to consequential health hazards
  • Pollution is aggravated by permitting constructions close to highways: NGT

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed that while granting environmental clearance, the Ministry of Environment must ensure that an effective monitoring mechanism exists to ensure compliance with requisite safeguards including the plantations on the roadsides and keeping such roadsides free from encroachments upto specified distance. The NGT issued this direction after acknowledging that “green cover on both sides of highways is absolutely essential to mitigate adverse impact of vehicular pollution on the highways.”

Also Read: Forest Man of India: A Farmer From Assam Has Grown A Forest On Barren Land By Planting Trees For Last 40 Years

A NGT bench headed by its Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said that the stand of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) that the roads are constructed by Concessioners and it is only their responsibility to comply with the mandate of law is patently untenable and shows indifference and breach of public trust and statutory duties.

The NGT also pointed out that if the NHAI in the course of its activities hires its agents, the liability of the principal does not end and “the Criminal as well as Civil liability of NHAI and its highest officers under the Environmental Law to be prosecuted and to be required to pay compensation continues.”

It also ruled that such inalienable duty cannot be abandoned on specious plea that a contractor is being hired and, moreover, being public authorities, taking such plea shows lack of responsibility or lack of knowledge of law.

The NHAI as well as the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) have to be the role model to ensure compliance of environmental norms and same is expected from the State Public Works Department (PWD) and other concerned Authorities, it recommended.

Also Read: This Gujarat Institute Mandates Tree Plantation As Form Of Punishment

There has to be continuous meaningful and responsible monitoring at highest levels. It is not a charity but constitutional mandate, the NGT said.

The NGT has said that the record shows that on every occasion the matter has been taken up, the Tribunal has regretfully found lack of involvement of the concerned authorities on the subject.

We are stating so with a hope that the authorities realise their responsibility in the matter and coercive measures are avoided against erring officers. We expect the highest in the organisations to look into these aspects to ensure change of attitude and counselling, the NGT said adding that it is compelled to make these observations after observing indifference for long.

Accordingly, the NGT directed the NHAI and the NHIDCL and concerned Central and State Ministries to develop appropriate mechanism for compliance of the law, which may be overseen by the Environmental Regulatory Authorities in the Central Government as well as in the States.

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We further direct that while granting Environmental Clearance, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) must ensure that an effective monitoring mechanism exists to ensure compliance of requisite safeguards including the plantations on the road sides and keeping such roadsides free from encroachments upto specified distance, the NGT said.

NHAI and NHIDCL must give undertaking of responsible level officers to take ownership of maintaining environmental norms instead of taking a plea that it was not their basic responsibility and responsibility was of the contractor, it said.

The NGT also held that it was acknowledged by the concerned authorities that green cover on both sides of highways is absolutely essential to mitigate adverse impact of vehicular pollution on the highways.

The dust leads to increase of PM 2.5 and PM 10 and consequential health hazards and the pollution is aggravated by permitting constructions close to the highways, making it impossible to provide green cover, the NGT noted.

Also Read: National Green Tribunal Directs NCR Local Bodies To Ensure Sprinkling Water Before Sweeping Roads

The NGT was hearing an application filed by NGO named Society for Protection of Culture, Heritage, Environment, Traditions and Promotion of National Awareness.

The issue for consideration was the remedial action for protection of environment along the highways. The steps include green cover to minimise the impact of dust pollution on account of traffic, leaving of space on both sides of highways for tree plantation and expansion, preventing direct access to the highways without bye-lanes/exit routes and regulating the opening of access to the buildings directly from the highways.

The applicant approached this Tribunal for directions under Section 15 of the NGT Act, 2010 for mandatory green cover on both sides of highways on the pattern of notification dated 25.07.2012 issued by the Town and Country Planning Department (“T&CPD”), Government of Haryana under Section 5(4) of the Punjab Scheduled Roads and Controlled Areas Restriction of Unregulated Development Act, 1963.

The applicant alleged that continuous movement of vehicles caused dust pollution and increase of PM 2.5 and PM 10 and consequential health hazards. Large number of structures were built on the sides of highways having direct illegal access to NH8, destroying the space for mandatory green cover.

Also Read: Tree Plantation Drive Across Uttar Pradesh: Over 10 Lakh Saplings Planted Across Noida, And Greater Noida

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

17,66,30,634Cases
5,80,25,717Active
11,47,82,895Recovered
38,22,022Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 193 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 17,66,30,634 and 38,22,022 have died; 5,80,25,717 are active cases and 11,47,82,895 have recovered as on June 16, 2021 at 3:30 am.

India

2,96,33,105 62,224Cases
8,65,43247,946Active
2,83,88,100 1,07,628Recovered
3,79,573 2,542Deaths
In India, there are 2,96,33,105 confirmed cases including 3,79,573 deaths. The number of active cases is 8,65,432 and 2,83,88,100 have recovered as on June 16, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

59,24,773 7,652

1,41,440 8,982

56,69,179 15,176

1,14,154 1,458

Karnataka

27,77,010 5,041

1,62,303 9,859

25,81,559 14,785

33,148 115

Kerala

27,48,204 12,246

1,12,792 1,456

26,23,904 13,536

11,508 166

Tamil Nadu

23,78,298 11,805

1,25,215 11,669

22,23,015 23,207

30,068 267

Andhra Pradesh

18,20,134 5,741

75,134 4,879

17,32,948 10,567

12,052 53

Uttar Pradesh

17,03,207 270

7,221 890

16,74,072 1,104

21,914 56

West Bengal

14,68,044 3,268

20,046 1,125

14,30,949 2,068

17,049 75

Delhi

14,31,498 228

3,078 148

14,03,569 364

24,851 12

Chhattisgarh

9,88,172 609

11,717 943

9,63,113 1,544

13,342 8

Rajasthan

9,50,133 172

5,619 848

9,35,658 1,006

8,856 14

Odisha

8,59,526 3,405

44,358 3,436

8,11,780 6,799

3,388 42

Gujarat

8,21,078 352

8,884 658

8,02,187 1,006

10,007 4

Madhya Pradesh

7,88,649 224

3,610 331

7,76,424 528

8,615 27

Haryana

7,66,357 228

3,703 374

7,53,584 564

9,070 38

Bihar

7,17,949 410

4,360 412

7,04,075 813

9,514 9

Telangana

6,06,436 1,556

19,933 528

5,82,993 2,070

3,510 14

Punjab

5,89,153 628

10,802 1,111

5,62,701 1,691

15,650 48

Assam

4,66,590 3,415

41,184 475

4,21,378 2,906

4,028 34

Jharkhand

3,43,793 184

2,646 416

3,36,058 596

5,089 4

Uttarakhand

3,37,449 274

3,642 266

3,26,822 515

6,985 25

Jammu And Kashmir

3,08,726 715

12,407 1,125

2,92,114 1,830

4,205 10

Himachal Pradesh

1,99,197 321

4,050 382

1,91,737 691

3,410 12

Goa

1,63,048 327

4,175 231

1,55,926 548

2,947 10

Puducherry

1,13,192 355

4,668 279

1,06,828 629

1,696 5

Chandigarh

61,200 40

486 21

59,917 58

797 3

Manipur

61,096 785

8,744 301

51,354 476

998 8

Tripura

60,385 536

4,886 65

54,870 596

629 5

Meghalaya

42,759 450

4,430 99

37,579 542

750 7

Arunachal Pradesh

31,938 290

2,849 40

28,934 326

155 4

Nagaland

23,854 101

2,972 229

20,423 327

459 3

Ladakh

19,649 38

552 20

18,898 57

199 1

Sikkim

18,659 209

3,239 67

15,136 273

284 3

Mizoram

15,899 268

3,637 45

12,191 312

71 1

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,473 9

61 2

10,408 7

4

Lakshadweep

9,297 61

484 36

8,768 96

45 1

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,280 11

105 4

7,049 15

126

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