Major environment orders (May 8, 2024)

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

NGT seeks response from states / UTs on pharmaceutical-induced environmental contamination

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) May 6, 2024 directed notices to be issued to the chief secretaries of all the states and Union territories of India on the matter of pharmaceutical-induced environmental contamination. Notices were also directed to be issued to the state pollution control board of all the states and UTs.

All the respondents were directed to file their response at least a week before the next date of hearing (August 20, 2024), disclosing the compliance of the norms by pharmaceutical company, the regulatory guidelines in force, number of pharmaceutical companies in each of the state / UT and number of such companies complying with norms and number of companies against whom action is taken for violation of the norms as also the proposed action for prevention of the environment from pharmaceutical toxicity.

The original application was registered on the basis of an article titled Impact of pharmaceutical toxicity on the environment and its regulatory aspects published in the journal Current Science February 25, 2024. 

The paper disclosed that pharmaceutical-induced environmental contamination needs urgent attention because around 43 per cent of global rivers are facing risks from active pharmaceutical ingredients (API). The continuous emissions are posing potential hazards to the environment and human health. 

It disclosed that pharmacies sometimes cannot filter all the chemicals used in pharmaceutical production (such as solvents, APIs, excipients, additives, by-products, intermediates). These chemicals cause ecosystem imbalances that give rise to chemical pollution in the environment. The article suggested possible ways for reduction of pharmaceutical waste.

Housing colony on Hindon floodplain discharging waste into river

NGT May 6 directed the chief executive officer, Greater Noida Authority, Gautam Budh Nagar, Uttar Pradesh to file a report on a housing colony situated on the Hindon floodplain and discharging its waste into the river. The report should be filed a week before the next date of hearing, August 16, 2024, the order said.

The joint committee report said Shivam Enclave Colony in old Haibatpur is situated on the floodplains area of Hindon River and it has no sewerage network. Sewage generated from it is directly discharged in Hindon river, it noted. 

The report also recommended that the concerned authorities take appropriate action to ensure that not only the flood plain is protected but also discharge of untreated sewage in Hindon River is prevented within the shortest time.

Illegal mining of soil during construction of Bundelkhand Expressway Project

The member secretary, Central Pollution Control Board, was directed by NGT to inspect the extent of mining – legal or illegal – done by Gowar Construction Ltd on the land of a farmer during the course of construction of Bundelkhand Expressway Project.

The counsel appearing for the project proponent also sought two weeks to place on record a copy of the environmental clearance (EC) for mining by the competent authority.

The applicant alleged that illegal mining was taking place in the of soil at upto 10-15 metres depth from the farmer’s land by Gowar Construction Ltd, the project proponent, in collusion with the officer of the Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority during the construction of Bundelkhand Expressway Project and consequential damage to the road. The report of the project proponent does not contain information whether any EC was obtained for carrying out the mining activity.

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