Ahmedabad: Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, chairman of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), said on Wednesday that India is not taking the issue of air pollution seriously. Addressing an event in the presence of Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on the occasion of World Environment Day, Justice Goel also said that not a single state in the country is complying with garbage disposal norms. He said, “There are sources which are causing pollution. It maybe carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, methane and sulphur oxide, these gases are the killers. Who is creating it? It is created by industrial emissions, burning of crop residue and burning of garbage. Dumps of garbage are mounting.”
The NGT chairman added,
The world is taking air pollution so seriously, we are not. I am very sorry to tell all of you that no state in the whole country is compliant with waste management rules. We need zero tolerance if air quality deteriorates beyond a point. This is a serious issue. Only the government cannot do it alone. There are garbage dumps, including in Ahmedabad. Unless states become compliant, it will remain a challenge.
Causing pollution is no less an offense than murder or rape, he said. Citing a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, Justice Goel said air pollution is killing six lakh people in India every year, including 15,000 in Gujarat.
CM Rupani assured that his government will take steps to be more compliant with waste management norms. He said,
What Justice Goel has pointed out is important. I want to assure him that our government is committed to act and will take more steps to tackle the issue.
The chief minister added that developed countries caused the most pollution in the past, and now they were expressing concern about the environment. He also announced a Rs. 2,500-crore project to lay pipelines to discharge industrial wastewater from Vadodara, Ahmedabad and Jetpur in Rajkot district deep inside the sea. Mr. Rupani said,
We will lay three deep-sea pipelines to discharge treated effluent water from these three industrial clusters into the sea. We will do it as per NGT norms. Industries will bear 30 per cent of the cost while the government will bear the rest.
During the event, the Gujarat government launched ‘Emission Trading Scheme’ (ETS), under which a firm which reduces emissions below the stipulated limit can sell its surplus ’emission permits’. The government has claimed that it is the world’s first such scheme for Particulate Matter (PM) pollution.
Under the scheme, the Gujarat Pollution Control Board would set a limit or cap on the amount of a pollutant that maybe emitted. It will be allocated or sold to firms in the form of emissions permits. The firms which need to increase the volume of emissions must buy permits from those who require fewer permits. Thus, those who pollute less will be rewarded.
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.