Coming down heavily on the Delhi government for failing to comply with its directions to curb pollution arising from management and handling of plastic waste, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday imposed a fine of Rs 25 crore on it.
The tribunal, while also taking a stern view of non-compliance of the orders of the Supreme Court on May 7, 2004, in M.C. Mehta Vs Union of India & Ors, whereby all industrial activities falling under category ‘F’ of the Master Plan of Delhi, 2001, in all residential and non-conforming areas were stopped and closed down, also directed the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi to furnish an additional Rs 25 crore as performance guarantee with the Central Pollution Control Board (CBCB).
The green court also held the Delhi Government to be liable to pay double the current fine, at Rs 50 crores, in the event of non-compliance of its directions passed on December 12, 2013, on the applications of Satish Kumar and Mahavir Singh, residents of Mundka and Tikri-Kalan, respectively, in Delhi. The petitioners, therein, had raised grievances of environmental pollution caused by burning of plastics, leather, rubber, motor engine oil and waste materials of similar nature, besides the continuous operation of illegal industrial units dealing with such articles on their agricultural lands and in the vicinity of their precincts.
A bench of Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justices S.P. Wangdi, K. Ramakrishnan and Expert Member Dr. Nagin Nanda passed the orders while taking up compliance with the tribunal’s orders.
The environmental court, in its judgment on December 12, 2013, restrained all the plastic waste or scrap dealers and recyclers, including member of the PWD Association from carrying on their business of segregation of plastic waste and its eventual transfer to recyclers or disposal contrary to and without registration under the provisions of the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011. The tribunal, vide the same order, had held against unregulated open burning of plastics/rubber or such other articles anywhere in India.
All the municipal authorities were directed to strictly enforce provisions of the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, relating to use, collection, segregation, transportation and disposal of plastic waste and to set up, operationalise and coordinate waste management systems within their limits, work out and set up systems for the use of plastic waste in road construction and/or in co-incineration plants for generation of energy and incorporate necessary provisions in their bylaws for enforcement of the rules.
The Government of NCT of Delhi, Delhi Pollution Control Committee, Haryana State Pollution Control Board and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, within whose jurisdiction the lands in question fell, were directed to work out a plan for restoration of the affected lands.
Advocate Rahul Choudhary, appearing for Mahavir Singh, said, “We submitted before the court that none of the directions passed by the court on December 12, 2013, have been complied with by the agencies, till date. The sealing of polluting units as claimed by the government has only been a cosmetic exercise.”
“Burning of plastics and related waste materials continues unabated, contributing in major proportions to the already severely polluted, uninhalable air of Delhi and National Capital Region,” he said.
The NGT, while calling for high-level monitoring of compliance of its directions, has also asked the government to identify names of the persons involved in causing pollution and the officers responsible for it to effectively execute and supervise the consequences of failure.