Major environment orders (February 6, 2024)

Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal

NGT questions J&K PCC on 132 brick kilns operating without requisite permission

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) February 2, 2024 directed notice to be issued to the principal secretary, department of environment, Jammu & Kashmir regarding illegal brick kilns in the state.

The authority was directed to file response disclosing action taken for proper functioning of Jammu & Kashmir Pollution Control Committee and also action taken against the 132 brick kilns which have been set up and are operating without consent to establish / consent to operate and without following environmental norms.

The court directed that response be filed by the Principal Secretary at least one week before the next date of hearing April 8, 2024.

There are a total of 570 brick kilns in Jammu and Kashmir, according to the compliance status of brick kilns in the state filed by the member secretary, J&K PCC. Of these, 196 are operating with consent and 132 without. 

The Jammu & Kashmir PCC has issued 146 closure orders. A total of 147 brick kilns have applied for consent and are under process at various stages for accord of consent.

NGT noted that the report revealed that there are at least 132 brick kilns operating without consent. However, the report does not mention the action taken against 132 brick kilns operating without consent.

Identification of materials from industrial processes as waste or by-product

The NGT February 2 directed the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to file a response on the implementation of the framework on identification of materials generated from industrial processes as waste or by-products. MoEF&CC has to place its stand on record at least one week before the next date of hearing on April 10, 2024.

An action taken report has been filed by the Central Pollution Control Board disclosing the steps which have been taken for preparing the framework in this regard. Application forms received from SPCBs are being examined by CPCB, the report noted. 

CPCB has sought a month’s time to finalise a common application form and incorporate the same in the framework after consultation with SPCBs / PCCs and approval of MoEF&CC.

The issue raised in the application was with respect to the non-implementation of the ‘Framework on identification of materials generated from industrial processes as wastes or by-products’ issued by the Central Pollution Control Board in September, 2019, to ensure that no hazardous waste gets categorised as by-product, thereby escaping the strict scrutiny of the Hazardous and Other Waste Management Rules, 2016.

Effluent from dumpyard polluting groundwater

The Principal Bench of NGT February 2 took a serious view of the news report raising the issue of water pollution caused due to seepage of effluent from the dumpyard site in Mandara village, Mangaluru, Karnataka and directed notices to the concerned authorities. 

Notices were to be issued to the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, Mangaluru City Corporation, Deputy Commissioner and District Magistrate, Mangaluru and Central Pollution Control Board.

The original application was registered suo motu on the basis of the news item titled Effluent seepage from dump yard pollutes drinking water sources, which appeared in The Times of India December 19, 2023. 

The news item raised the issue relating to water pollution being caused due to seepage of effluent from the waste heaps into open wells and other drinking water sources at the landfill site in Mandara village near the waste dump yard of Mangaluru City Corporation at Pachanady, Karnataka.

As per the news item, the residents of the village are worried about pollution of water in their wells as they are facing drinking water shortage. The report also reflects that cultivation of agricultural land in that area is affected and that contaminated water from the well even causes rashes on the skin and is creating health hazards.

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