NGT orders closure of 124 industries polluting Hindon river
The green panel’s directions came after a petition was filed by Dr Chandravir Singh, a retired scientist of a pollution control board. Dr Singh had alleged that industrial units were contaminating groundwater.noida Updated: Aug 09, 2018 14:20 IST
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday ordered the closure of 124 industrial units which are polluting the Hindon river and its two tributaries that flow through six districts of western Uttar Pradesh. The tribunal also ordered that the owners of these units be prosecuted.
The directions came after a petition was filed by Doaba Paryavaran Samaiti chairman Dr Chandravir Singh, a retired scientist of a pollution control board. Dr Singh had alleged that industrial units were contaminating groundwater. He had highlighted the presence of heavy metals in the groundwater after he got water samples from the neighbouring areas of the three western UP rivers tested.
“The tribunal on Wednesday directed that the owners of 124 units be prosecuted under Section 44 of the Water Act. These units are causing environmental pollution in their vicinity, as well as in Hindon and its tributaries. If proved, the punishment can range from a minimum of one-and-a-half years to a maximum of six years,” advocate Gaurav Bansal, appearing for the petitioner, said .
“The tribunal has also directed that units that have been served closure notices be shut down immediately. The tribunal has asked that health facilities in different areas be improved and that an action plan for river Hindon be proposed. The action plan should include measures such as installation of effluent treatment plants,” Bansal added.
Pradeep Mishra, the advocate appearing for the Uttar Pradesh pollution control board (UPPCB), said,“The tribunal has ordered action against units. Once we receive the order, we will be able to comment further.”
A Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)-led joint team of officials, formed on the directions of the tribunal in January, had found in its report that 93 of 168 groundwater sampling locations in western UP districts are contaminated with one or more pollutants such as sulphate and fluoride, and heavy metals like cadmium, copper, lead, iron, nickel, zinc, mercury, chromium and manganese.
The team inspected 317 industrial units in the vicinity of the catchment area of the Hindon river as well as the six districts of Ghaziabad, Saharanpur, Shamli, Baghpat, Meerut and Muzaffarnagar.
Of the 317 units inspected, it was found that the consent granted by the UPPCB for 79 units had already expired. The report also highlighted a major anomaly. It said that 32 units were observed disposing of the generated water via a common effluent treatment plant while 154 were discharging either treated or partially treated waste water into nearby drains, which finally merge with the Hindon river.
According to the report, about 119 units, including 66 in Ghaziabad, were not complying with the effluent discharge norms.
The tribunal, in its July 12 order on Singh’s petition, said, “We are prima facie of the view that in terms of the said report, speedy action is to be taken; so that not only the discharge of pollutants is stopped, but also those who have indulged in such discharge so far are dealt in accordance with law.”
In a compliance report filed by the UPPCB on Wednesday, the agency included a list of 124 non-complying units. Of these, 68 are in Ghaziabad while 31 are in Gautam Budh Nagar.
The UPPCB said that of the 124 erring units, it has issued closure notice to 30, show cause notices to 41 and directions for compliance to 51 units. The compliance report submitted by the agency has found eight units that discharge mercury through industrial effluents, while 11 others have traces of mercury in the borewells installed on their premises.
First Published: Aug 09, 2018 14:20 IST