New Delhi: Polluting industries cannot be allowed in a residential area and authorities have to enforce appropriate regulatory measures, National Green Tribunal (NGT) has said while constituting a panel to undertake health survey in and around Malegaon, Maharashtra. The NGT said that wherever polluting activities are found, steps have to be taken to stop them, recover compensation and restore the environment. The tribunal noted that Malegaon is a densely populated city and has a huge industrial activity which includes red and orange category of industries (hazardous and highly polluting industries).
It noted that Girna river receives huge pollution from activities in Malegaon and use of plastic wastes by these industries is a contributor to the damage to the environment. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel formed a joint committee comprising representatives of Ministry of Environment, Forests, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), state pollution control board and the Malegaon Municipal Corporation.
It directed the committee to undertake a health survey and the carrying capacity assessment of the area and assess the Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index in and around Malegaon for deciding the permission for the operation of polluting activities. The NGT said,
The committee may make an assessment of the damage to the environment and public health in the last three years and may consider the air quality of the area. It may visit the site after public notice and hear the members of the public who may choose to appear and ascertain the status of actual closure of the units on record and recommend preventive safeguards and remedial action to be taken having regard to the ground situation.
It directed the District Magistrate to provide necessary security to the committee and sought report within two months by e-mail. The matter is listed for next hearing on October 15. The green panel passed the order after perusing a report field by CPCB, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and the municipal corporation.
According to the report, 185 units were involved in the plastic recycling, 146 units were operating without valid consent, 107 sizing units were operating using plastic as fuel and action was taken against those which were operating without valid consent and using plastic as a fuel in boilers.
The NGT said that MPCB was conscious of the rampant pollution and still failed to act and there is nothing to show that any compensation has been recovered for the massive polluting activities from the units which are declared to be the polluters. The tribunal said,
Cost of damage to public health and environment needs to be assessed and recovered from polluters and pending such final assessment, interim compensation needs to be recovered which should be deterrent. Actions of polluters causing diseases or deaths should not go unpunished in a civilized society governed by the rule of law.
It said that MPCB, as well as other authorities, have failed to comply with the ‘sustainable development’ and ‘Precautionary’ principles required to be applied by every regulatory authority. The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Mohammad Yusuf Abdullah Shaikh and others seeking action against air pollution due to the melting of the plastic in the process of manufacturing ‘gitti’ (recycled plastic granules) for use of plastic pipes at Malegaon in Maharashtra.
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.