New Delhi: 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 (NGT) 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.