Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal has issued directions to a joint committee of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), to improve conditions of polluted river Daman Ganga and drain Bill Khadi in Valsad district, in Gujarat on account of discharge of effluents by industries and Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP), operated by M/s Vapi Green Enviro Limited, in Vapi Industrial Cluster.
A bench led by Justice Adarsh K Goel while considering a report on the operation of the CETP said "The CETP needs to be upgraded and till such upgradation is done, the inlet quantity and load needs to be reduced as to match the current capacity of the CETP. The Committee can determine the manner in which the CETP may reduce its intake so that its outlet complies with the parameters pending steps for further upgradation."
To reduce the load of inlet so as to ensure that inlet parameters are complied with by contributing industries, the bench said "May require closing identified source of such inlets or reducing the corresponding pollution load of the identified member units."
As regards compensation for past violations by units and CETP, it clarified that "Compensation as assessed by the Committee in respect of individual units as well as CETP is liable to be recovered as interim compensation on 'Polluter Pays' principle."
The bench also directed CPCB to devise an appropriate mechanism to conduct a performance audit of State Pollution Control Boards (SPCB's) and Pollution Control Centres (PCC's).
Bench said "What is expected is performance audit on issues such as adequacy with regard to environmental monitoring, efficacy of regulatory setup/mechanisms, staffing both technical and scientific manpower, scientific equipment, logistics support, competence etc. rather than ranking the States. Let the same be done and state-wise reports submitted based on thorough analysis in terms of statutory functions."
Chief Secretaries of States and Union Territories are told to fill up vacant positions in SPCB's and PCC's, within four months. "So that effective steps for protection of Environment can be taken." SPCBs/PCCs are told to utilize funds available with them, instead of approaching other authorities and on that pretext not performing their essential functions.
Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) is asked to consider constituting an appropriate authority, on the pattern of Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) or otherwise.
Click Here To Download Order