New Delhi: Noting that the Pirana landfill in Ahmedabad was a huge source of air pollution, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Gujarat government to deposit Rs. 75 crore in an escrow account for clearing the waste at the site. A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the situation was far from satisfactory as depicted in a report and serious action was required immediately. The bench said, “In view of clear and patent damage to public health, the issue of clearing the legacy waste at Pirana must be attended to preferably within two weeks and the work to clear the garbage may commence preferably within one month.”
The court said that after removing the garbage from the entire or part of the land, the state might consider using part of the recovered land for integrated waste processing. It suggested that the land can be used for treatment, storage, and disposal facility for hazardous waste, and have a bio-diversity park on the periphery to improve the air quality and ambience. It said,
An escrow account is a temporary pass-through account held by a third party during the process of a transaction between two parties. The bench also formed a committee comprising the state chief secretary to devise an action plan on the issue. The committee may co-opt any other technical persons/agencies.
It said in view of mandate of law as well as the Swachh Bharat Mission, Gujarat must take the necessary steps for pollution control. The tribunal also directed the state pollution control board to ensure that petcoke and furnace oil were not used in violation of law by any other industry. It said,
The action plan for air pollution needs to be appropriately revised to incorporate adequate provisions for control of air pollution based on an expert study and source apportionment. The citizens are entitled to clean air and right to good health as part of right to life. Use of coal as fuel needs to be checked if it is causing health hazard in a congested area.
Other members of the committee comprises the finance and urban development secretary, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation commissioner, the CEO of the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority, Central Pollution Control Board regional director and member secretary of the state pollution control board. The committee may have the commissioner and the chief executive officer of the Indore Municipal Corporation as special invitees. The tribunal said,
The committee may meet preferably within two weeks, and after taking stock of the situation, plan to start further action within a month.
It had earlier sought a report on a plea filed by advocate Amit Panchal seeking prohibition on use of petcoke and furnace oil by industries.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.