17 Oct 2023 9:45 AM GMT
The Andhra Pradesh High Court has ordered the constitution of a committee to gauge the sewage generation and management at Visakhapatnam (Vizag).The Division Bench of Chief Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Justice R. Raghunandan Rao has further tasked the Committee with the job of determining how many new STPs would need to be installed owing to the growing population of Vizag, along...
The Andhra Pradesh High Court has ordered the constitution of a committee to gauge the sewage generation and management at Visakhapatnam (Vizag).
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Justice R. Raghunandan Rao has further tasked the Committee with the job of determining how many new STPs would need to be installed owing to the growing population of Vizag, along with suggestions of viable locations for setup.
"According to the suggestion made by the learned Amicus Curiae, we constitute the following Committee in the first instance with a view to understand the extent of effluent discharge/sewage that is being generated in the city of Vizag and whether the 18 STPs (Sewage Treatment Plant) which have been established in the Vizag area are enough to effectively treat the said effluent/sewage...The Committee shall also determine the functional capacity as against the installed capacity of the STPs and the number of STPs that are required in addition to the existing number with a view to treat the effluent/sewage.
The Committee was also asked to determine the viable locations considering not only the present needs of the city but also the demand in future on account of the fact that the city has grown in population from 17,00,000 in the 2011 census to approximately 23,00,000 as of date.
It has been decided that the Committee shall consist of 3 members: one individual nominated from the CPCB, one from the APPCB and the Commissioner, Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region Development Authority (VMRDA).
It was finally directed that all nominations were to be completed within 10 days of receiving the Order.
The Committee was set up upon the recommendation of the Amicus Curiae in a PIL filed in the year 2020, contending that existing Effluent Treatment Plants constructed at various places in the Visakhapatnam area are inadequate to deal with and treat the effluents which are emitted from various sources, industrial or otherwise, measuring approximately 300 million litres per day. It is stated that the capacity of the plants functional at present is only approximately 176 million litres per day. Therefore, it was stated that much of the effluent material is being dumped into the sea without properly treating the same.
The questions raised by the Bench were: (i) what was the maximum capacity of the STPs and were they efficient, (ii) whether red category industries like pharm had implemented pollution control measures. To assist the Court, Senior Counsel K.S. Murthy was appointed as Amicus Curiae.
Report filed by the Amicus Curiae
The Amicus Curiae filed a report on the last date of the hearing which was based on various literature and reports submitted by both the Central and the State Pollution Control Boards.
It highlighted that the undivided Visakhapatnam district had a lengthy coastline wherein many industries, especially pharmaceutical industrial units, are situated near the shore and other water bodies.
Further, as per the report of the Central Pollution Board, the ambient quality of air in Vizag had reached a critical level which would inevitably affect the fishermen's communication that lived along the coastline.
The Report urged a symbiotic function of the Centre along with the State for proper management of sewage, based on which, the Committee was formed.
Case Title: Chintha Venkateswarulu v. State of Andhra Pradesh
Counsel for petitioner: Jada Sravan Kumar
Counsel for Respondents: Respective Government Pleaders.
Click Here To Read/Download Order