The National Green Tribunal (NGT), on 15th November 2020, directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to issue suitable directions for compliance with their proposals for the waste-to-energy plants in Ghazipur, Okhla, and Bawana.
An application was filed by Sukhdev Vihar Residents’ Welfare Association in a decided matter for the award of compensation for violation of environmental norms. Meanwhile, a joint inspection team observed the three plants in February-March. After monitoring the Bawana plant, CPCB recommended ensuring better efficiency and optimum power generation. The three plants were monitored after an issue was highlighted against the setting up of the waste-to-energy plant near Okhla’s sewage treatment plant in Delhi.
Arguments Before the Court
The petitioners, including the Residents’ Welfare Associations, argued before the Bench against the setting up of the plant in the vicinity on account of the potential danger to human health and the environment.
On September 24th, CPCB filed a report, wherein, it recommended the Ghazipur unit to obtain valid permission to operate from the DPCC and to ensure that it is operational at full capacity when a joint inspection is carried out so that the results are conclusive. It also suggested the Ghazipur Okhla plants take required measures to ensure that the concentration levels of all monitored parameters in stack emission are within the stipulated limits. Furthermore, the CPCB maintained that a constant ambient air quality monitoring station should be installed at the earliest at the Okhla plant, which should also utilize 100 per cent fly ash for beneficial purposes like bricks manufacturing, etc.
While hearing the contentions, The Bench found that the location of the plant was not against the norms and that the colonies were in upwind directions, so emissions did not affect them.
Furthermore, the Bench found that the plant was lacking in its operations and was causing a violation of environmental norms, for which it was necessary to take remedial steps.
The Bench, comprising of a head, Justice AK Goel directed the CPCB and DPCC to issue appropriate directions for compliance of the observations and recommendations, by the waste-to-energy plants in question.
They also gave the liberty to the committee to recover compensation in terms of the orders already passed by the Tribunal for any violations which may be found.
The Bench further took remedial action, including payment of environmental compensation of Rs. 25 lakh, instead of shutting it down, by instructing them to conduct monthly inspections by the regulators of the plants.
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