Certain top hospitals and government installations have been found guilty of letting precious rainwater go down the drain, while allowing toxic waste into rainwater tanks.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday issued notices, directing them to explain why they should not pay a fine of Rs. 10-20 lakh for such callous lapses. Rainwater harvesting for groundwater recharge is mandatory for all public buildings.
Reacting to an adverse inspection report filed by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), the NGT ordered them to explain why punitive action under environment protection statutes should not be taken against seniormost officers of these intuitions.
“Rainwater harvesting systems are non-functional and at a number of places they are being used as dumping sites. Even hospitals are using them for purposes bound to result in pollution and loss of groundwater recharge,” the NGT said.
Manoj Misra of NGO Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan said, “We commend DPCC’s work which has exposed such callousness when Delhi perpetually faces water crisis. Also, these agencies are making groundwater toxic by dumping waste into tanks meant for rainwater storage.”
“At Batra Hospital (Tughlakabad), laundry waste water was being discharged into storm water lines. Mixed with rainwater, this would contaminate groundwater,” the 17-page DPCC report says.
At the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the DPCC found that all 23 rainwater harvesting systems had silt inside them. At Safdarjung Hospital, garbage, debris and silt were found in many of the 23 systems. The NGT said others found guilty in the DPCC report are the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, New Delhi Municipal Council, Delhi Jal Board, Central Public Works Department, besides Delhi’s departments of forest and irrigation.
“At the Chhatarpur Metro station, the storage system was defunct and a tank was filled with garbage with its cover broken. At Arjangarh Metro station, heavy flow of sewage and rainwater flow through the same drain. At a PWD site, garbage was seen in a rainwater tank,” the DPCC report says.
The tribunal also ordered civic bodies to spell out, in three weeks, the number of premises where rainwater harvesting was ordered after 2010 and its execution. The tribunal will hear the matter on May 6.
What the green court said
Agencies under scanner: AIIMS, Batra Hospital, Safdarjung Hospital, Saket City Hospital, DMRC, NDMC, DJB, CPWD, DJB, forest, irrigation depts.
Charges: Non-functional water storage systems, toxic waste into rainwater tanks
Action: Fine up to Rs. 20 lakh may be imposed on the agencies
Civic bodies to spell out number of premises where rainwater harvesting was ordered after 2010 and its execution.
DJB will state how the rainwater is utilised.
Next date of hearing: May 6